If anything is appealing to believers ears, it’s “liberty”. Human nature is amazing. I can be reading a passage full of hard-hitting, convicting, life-changing truths and almost every time my eye will go directly to one word or phrase that appeals directly to my flesh.
I was re-reading the first chapter of 1 Corinthians this morning and (ashamedly) realized something I never had before. I’m assuming I’m now prepared to read it and may have not been in the past. The entire passage is for the benefit of someone else. It’s misleading because it starts out like this:
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 1 Corinthians 10:23 ESV
I’ve used this passage many times in the context of, “it may not be out of bounds for me but it’s not doing anything to further my relationship with Jesus” type of thinking. But today I noticed the verse directly after:
Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 1 Corinthians 10:24 ESV
I then realized the phrase “build up” and “helpful” largely point to someone other than self. I then asked myself, “Would you actually be willing to give up something you love if it is an obstacle for ONE other person to experience Jesus?” I think the answer has to be yes.
I find one of my main struggles in life to be removing more and more of myself from my thoughts. And as a father does, it seems He’s leading us in baby steps when instructing us to consider about other humans. Because later in the passage, God actually points us to the ultimate, ultimate goal which seems infinitely harder:
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
The text is screaming at me at this point, “IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!!!”. Remove yourself from the equation so other people can experience life and God can be glorified. And as a bonus, fulfillment and purpose become self-evident.