IT'S NOT ABOUT THE MEAT; IT'S ABOUT YOUR HEART
- Key Verse
Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. (1 Corinthians 8:1)
- READ THE CHAPTER
Acting on knowledge with pride instead of love is enslaving.
Looking back, I can clearly identify times when my knowledge of God and the gospel manifested itself as pride and arrogance rather than love and humility in light of God's sacrifice. My prideful attitude toward others who did not share my convictions was a hindrance to my witness and a stumbling block to my own spiritual growth.
Have you ever noticed that there are some issues in which Scripture does not give direct instruction -- a clear "do" or "don't"? For instance, Scripture does not give clear instruction about watching R-rated movies. However, Scripture says much about guarding your heart: "Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life." (Proverbs 4:23) As believers, we have the freedom and responsibility to act based on Scripture and God's work in our heart, rather than what someone else's personal conviction dictates for us.
Paul is writing to believing Gentiles in Corinth. Some of the believers think it's wrong to eat meat that was originally intended for idol worship. Paul responds by saying, idols don't exist, and there is only one God. We have freedom to eat the meat because God is sovereign over it. The knowledge that there is only one God should be freeing rather than restricting. Although the meat's original purpose was for evil, it can be redeemed to bring God glory. Eating the meat doesn't take us further away from God. It's just meat. The motive for eating the meat is what makes us further or closer to God.
So, we have freedom to "eat the meat" if our hearts are pure and set on glorifying God. However, there are times when our hearts may be pure, but to eat the meat causes confusion for others (1 Corinthians 8:7-9). Therefore, we have a responsibility to make sure our actions do not cause another person to stumble.
Knowledge of God and His work on the cross offers us the freedom and responsibility to follow Him in humility, with a motive to love. Any other motive besides love would be enslaving.
1. What is your "meat?" What are the activities, behaviors, or philosophies that you find yourself holding to with a prideful heart rather than a spirit of humility and a motive to love the Lord and others?
2. Read this passage again, and substitute one of the words on your list for the word "meat."
3. Family Question: Are there times when you have thought someone at school or in the workplace was weird or different? How do you think Jesus would treat him or her? How can you show that person love today?
WEEKLY FAMILY ACTIVITY
1 Corinthians 7-11 (June 25-29)
Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-11.
• In verses 1-10, who is the writer talking about?
• Do you remember all the things that happened with to Israelites in the wilderness?
• What does verse 11 tell us about the Israelites?
• What does it mean for something to be an example for you? What about a warning for you?
• Have you ever thought about learning from someone else's mistakes or example?
• What are some things you have learned from other people just by watching them?
Activity: God gave us His Word so that we would have a clear guide on how to live in a way that brings Him great glory. Let's think back on the stories that He gave us as examples and what we can learn from them. For each story, have someone give a short version of what happened in the story and then everyone talk about what we can learn from them.
Stories: Noah and the Ark; Moses and the Red Sea; Eve in the Garden; Daniel in the Lion's Den; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the Fiery Furnace; Joshua and the Wall of Jericho; David and Goliath.