Today's Devotional Thought
March 20, 2015 by Wendy Foreman
Not About Me
Just because something is permitted does not mean it is beneficial. In today's verses, the Corinthians were not seeking the helpful things, or the things that would edify. Essentially, instead of wanting to go forward with Jesus as much as they could, they wanted to know how much they could get away with and still be Christians.
That's the wrong approach!
As well, the Corinthian Christians were asking one question: what's the harm to me? They did not consider how their actions were harming others.
Just because something is fine for me does not mean I should do it. My own "rights" or what I know to be permitted for myself are not the standards by which I judge my behavior. I must consider what is the loving thing to do towards my brothers and sisters in Jesus (David Guzik's Bible Commentary).
I find these verses to be challenging, especially when you read the commentary on them. Many of us will justify what we do by using the phrase "I have the right to do anything." How many of us don't stop and ask the question "How will my actions harm others?" Or "What is the loving thing to do towards my brothers and sisters in Christ?"
The truth is there are many things that we could do, and maybe they aren't even wrong, but if they cause our brother to stumble then we should not do them.
I want to be clear today the people to whom these verses were being written were struggling. Paul was telling them how they needed to live their lives in the midst of a very sinful society. Corinth was a very large pagan city. They worshipped numerous idols and made sacrifices to them. Many people were coming to believe in Jesus out of these pagan practices and it was very important that they made a clean break and that the more mature Christians did not do anything to cause the new believers to stumble.
Now I believe that things have not changed. We can look at the society in which we live and see the things that others indulge in and how are we different if we indulge in them as well? We can protest that we have the right to do anything. Or 'I don't feel convicted by it.' Or the Bible does not necessarily say it's wrong. But my question becomes, does it glorify God and edify others?
Will what I do or say cause someone to stumble?
Perhaps call into question my integrity?
And, is it really worth it then?
I believe we need to ask these questions anytime we are faced with something that we know could be a stumbling block to others, or if we know of someone who may struggle in a certain area that we don't. I believe to go ahead and act in these areas is making the choice to gratify our flesh instead of showing maturity in our walk with the Lord and making the choice to put our rights aside. Thus, putting the good of others first.
I Thessalonians 5:11 says Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. This is how we are to be in the body of Christ. We are to build one another up; encourage one another.
And how can I build anyone up if I am consumed with my rights and what I can do?
Today as you pray and spend time with the Lord ask him to show you areas of your life that you need to change, areas that could be a stumbling block to others. Ask him to give you wisdom and discernment as you live out your life in front of others.
All of us in the body of Christ should have the desire to encourage one another and build one another up just like 1 Thessalonians 5:11 states. Even if it means that we have to give up our rights to do it.