When I visited Europe, the number of impressive and artistic cathedrals blew me away. With time, however, many of these buildings have begun to show wear, losing details that the architect purposefully composed with intention and expertise. Because of the age of these buildings, tourists today might be unable to see these intricate designs and the skill of the architect.
As I read today’s passage, I thought of how often our actions don’t fully reflect the glory of our Creator, like a worn building not reflecting its master design.
- What is your reaction to a work of art that no longer reflects its master craftsman?
READ THE WORD: 1 CORINTHIANS 10:23-11:1 (ESV)
10:23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— 29 I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?
31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
- Paul said that, “all things are lawful,” but he also provided a guide to discerning actions. What did he suggest (vss. 23-24)?
- What drove Paul’s concern over the conscience of the unbelievers (vs. 33)?
- Whose advantage did Paul urge the reader to seek? Why?
- How might Christians cause unbelievers to stumble today? What modern day actions could confuse or concern unbelievers in a similar way the event in verses 27-28 affected non-Christians?
- In what ways might you be choosing personal liberties or selfish actions over the good of those who are not yet saved? Where do your attitudes and actions need to change?
RESPOND TO GOD
With salvation comes great freedom in Christ, but there are still consequences to our actions. We reflect our faith, and the One in whom we have faith, throughout our days during our interactions with people. Because of this, our actions constantly serve as a ministry to those around us. Paul urged the Corinthians to remember this as they took action, not because it would affect their salvation, but because it might affect someone who didn’t know the gospel. Although some choices might feel like giving up personal liberties, it seems like a small price to pay for others to have a better chance to see God reflected in our lives.
- Ask God to reveal areas in your life where your actions may be causing others to get caught up or distracted, keeping them from knowing more about him or wanting to seek him.