1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1 – Give Glory to God

Read 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1

sidewalk chalk art with words "Be Kind"

What if I had titled this reflection, “Be a People Pleaser” instead? After all, Paul does say, “I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do.” Taking that sentence out of context could easily lead us off course. Take careful note of Paul’s motivation. “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” and “I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.”

Paul’s discussion is still dealing with the idea of eating food used in worship of idols. This seems to be a very serious dispute for the first audience. I’m still grappling with what kind of food that could mean for us today.

While food may be the specific topic being dealt with, doesn’t the underlying message seem to be a “matter of conscience”?  Paul wants us to be aware of the reasons we do what we do. What are our motivations? He wants setting a good example to encourage others not to sin to be a good model for our behavior. What does your behavior say about your relationship with God?

We should be more focused on pleasing God with our actions. Paul’s two suggestions are (1) God created all that we eat, so it appears if we don’t know where it comes from, we are free to enjoy and be thankful for all food; and (2) Limit our freedom out of concern for the conscience of others.

What do you think?

The greatest difficulty we are left with is discernment. How do you know when to place limits on your own freedom for the sake of others? I suppose a good question to ask is, “do my actions build up the community or break it down?” Asking God if there is any doubt is also a good solution.

We find ourselves in community every day. Whether it’s the workplace, our neighborhood, our church, or even our family, we have a duty to care for others. After all, Jesus calls us to “love one another” in several different places in the Bible. When we are loving to others, that is definitely pleasing to God.

Think about ways you can give God the glory in your actions toward others today. If you have any question about that, think about what Paul says here, “you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” Strive to be more Christlike and giving the glory to God will come naturally.

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray …
Heavenly Father, thank you for all that you provide for me. I know you have called me to love my neighbor as myself. Help me to do that in a way that honors you and brings you glory. Help me to see the people who need to be cared for and who need to hear from you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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