What Would Jesus Do?
Father God, teach me today. I desire a new vision for my future, a new purpose for my heart, and a new hope in You.
Read 1 CORINTHIANS 10:23-11:1
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“So let us learn how to serve, and in our lives enthrone him; Each other’s needs to prefer, for it is Christ we’re serving” (Graham Kendrick). These lyrics sum up what Paul is saying.
Paul now concludes his comments on the matter of food sacrificed to idols. Believers enjoy immense freedom in Christ, but concerning an action not expressly forbidden by God, they must ask whether it will have a beneficial or detrimental effect on themselves and others. So Christians may eat any meat purchased at the market, because it is ultimately God the Creator who provided it. However, if they are dining in the home of a non-Christian, and the host or another guest with a tender conscience tells them that the food on offer has been sacrificed to idols, they must not eat it so as to avoid upsetting that person.
Unlike us, the Corinthian believers had no complete written New Testament. Most came from a pagan background with limited knowledge of the Jewish Scriptures. They had not seen or heard Jesus in person. They relied on the Spirit-anointed teaching and example of apostles such as Paul. With this in mind, Paul urges them to imitate him as he imitates Christ. Basically, regarding situations where the right path of action is not perfectly clear, Paul invites them to ask, “What would Jesus do?” They must follow the principle of doing everything for God’s glory and the good of others. In other words, they must act in obedience to Jesus’ two great commandments: love God first, love your neighbor second (Matt. 22:37-40).
In today’s postmodern (some say post-Christian) society, the Bible and Christian teaching are much less well-known and respected than before. In terms of social ethics and personal morals, our world is not very different from the Corinth of Paul’s day. Christians are the only “Bible” that many of our contemporaries read. What message are they receiving, and does it convey both love for God and love for our neighbors?
In what ways is a Christian free (23-24)? How do you exercise your freedom in Christ?
Holy God, my natural inclination is to be selfish. But Your call on me is to serve others. I ask for Your assistance in embracing this command.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.