Thursday, November 10, 2011

Eat No Meat?



What are you willing to do to help others grow in their relationship with Christ?

Scripture

Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.
(1 Corinthians 8:13 NASB)

Observation

Paul spends quite a bit of time talking about the freedom which he has found in Christ. This freedom surpasses anything that can be found in the world. Even an individual who was born into slavery can be free in Christ -- whether physically free or not. This freedom which is found in Christ has released many from restrictions placed upon them by the world. However, some of the habits of the old life have crept into the new life. For some people within the church community eating meat which had been offered to idols was a real problem. They believed that this meat had actually been defiled by having been used in a pagan sacrifice. However, in a sense it was "used" meat and therefore was a little cheaper to buy. Paul had found such freedom in Christ (which is amazing considering his zealous Jewish background) that he had no trouble eating this meat. But now Paul changes the tables on this freedom. His personal freedom should never step over the bounds of hurting his brother or sister in Christ. Paul could have pushed for his own rights and his own freedom, but rather he placed the spiritual life of those around him into a place of priority over his own rights.

Application

What is there in my life that could be a stumbling block to others? That is a serious question which we must be willing to ask ourselves for our Christian life is not just singular, but rather, communal. We are all called to live out the Christian life within the world and a community of believers and non-believers as well. That is why we are challenged to love God, and then to love our neighbor. They both go hand in hand. Paul realized that to love his neighbor sometimes meant giving up his own rights. I wonder if we're willing to examine the practices of our lives and ask ourselves whether there is anything that we do, in our liberty, that causes others to stumble and fall.
Would I be willing to go as far as Paul and say that if something causes my brother or sister to stumble that I would NEVER do it again?

Prayer

Lord, help me to see the things in my life which could be a stumbling block to others and be willing to put them aside -- forever! Amen.

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