Today’s Scripture: 1 Corinthians 8
“Pride,” the human tendency to puff ourselves up and imagine that we are better than all others. Take for example when you were in grade school, remember the class bully who scared or forced people to do something against their will. Isn’t it better to defend the weaker individual, to lift that person up and protect them, instead of leading them to do something against their will and better judgment?
In the same way, some who have biblical knowledge become intellectual bullies who think that they know so much and imagine themselves so wise. Paul is saying that they may be only imagining that they are knowledgeable, because if they really knew, they would use their knowledge, not to weaken others, but to strengthen them. They would not tear people down, but build them up. That’s what love does. Humility is thinking of others before yourself. It is the opposite of pride. In Chapter 8, Paul is trying to explain whether or not it was permissible to eat meat that had been offered to pagan idols.
1 Corinthians 8:1-3
1 Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. 2 Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. 3 But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.
“Knowledge” puffs up, but love “builds up”! And those new Christians, with limited knowledge, didn’t understand that what was in their head translated to what was in their heart. Paul said that even if he had knowledge, yet didn’t love others, he would amount to nothing, proving you can be brilliant and worthless.
Still some of the Christians considered meat offered to an idol to be defiled, and since they must follow their conscience, their beliefs should be respected by other Christians. Love dictates that all Christians make allowances for their weaker brothers and sisters to avoid anything that would make new Christians think less of their newfound faith or that would make an unsaved person feel more at ease in their sin. Under no circumstances, Paul says, should a believer encourage another believer to violate his or her conscience, but live in unity together.
How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!
Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted.
1 John 4:12 NLT, “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” When you look at your Christian brothers and sisters, do you honestly love them? Would you say, “That’s my brother or sister, if they were ever in trouble I would be there to help?
Philippians 2:2-3 NLT, “Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Make a list of five things that you would like to be known for.
21 Days of Prayer -Day 8
Today’s Prayer Focus: Next steps—for people to take their next steps on their spiritual journeys (Ephesians 3:16-20)
Together, let’s pray for individuals to understand the vision God has for their lives and to grow in the areas of knowing God, finding freedom, discovering purpose, and making a difference. Amen.
This post was written by Gary Schnabel, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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