Best For Me
16 June 2015
Reading: 1 Corinthians 10; Psalm 140
23 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is helpful. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. 24 Don’t think only of your own good. Think of other Christians and what is best for them…29 It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person. Now, why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks? 30 If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it? 31 Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God. 32 Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. 33 That is the plan I follow, too. I try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what I like or what is best for me, but what is best for them so they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:23-24, 29-33 NLT)
I’m visiting this issue again (See “Knowledge” GraceNotes for 06-08-15) because I think that in these verses Paul so clearly addresses one of the greatest tensions we live with—tension between freedom in Christ and willingly limiting our freedom for the sake of others.
Paul is not giving us a “Handbook for Lazy Legalistic Living”! If it had been possible to write a list of rules for living that would separate the “Good Guys” from the “Bad Guys” and thereby determine who’s in and who’s out with God, Jesus would not have needed to come to earth, spend three and a half years teaching and demonstrating how to live a Kingdom of God life, and then die on a cross for man’s sin!
The more we embrace this God-Life, the more we realize how loved, how accepted, and how free we really are! But the more we embrace this God-Life, the more we understand that it’s not just about us—it’s not about what’s best for me—it’s about others!
Not everything I’m free to do is beneficial to Christ’s Kingdom and to the others he loves just as much as he loves me! Not everything I’m free to do is something I ought to do when I take into account the effect it may have on those I influence.
Father, Thank you for the freedom you gave us in Christ. And thank you that you’ve given us freedom not to live only for ourselves and not to be driven on what we think is best for us. Please help us to love others the way you love us!