Scripture: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Observation: Paul addresses whether or not it’s okay to eat food that had been previously offered to idols. Since he is more worried about the Gospel than semantics, he reminds them of the true power of Christ Jesus. He focuses more of how much people love God rather than if it’s right or wrong.
Application: Sometimes, I wish my effort counted more than my answers. I had a particularly tough nutrition class in college, and I put in a lot of effort to do well -- creating study guides, reviewing lecture notes, making flashcards. Yet, when I got my exams back, I’d consistently score a C+ at best. When I sought out help from the professor, she affirmed my efforts and told me I was doing all of the right things. Yet, the effort didn’t count – the answers did, and unfortunately, I didn’t have the right ones. My best wasn’t enough.
What do we do when our best isn’t good enough? When our effort far outweighs our ability to grasp answers?
We turn towards Jesus.
Paul focuses on a particular topic here – whether or not to eat meat previously offered to idols – and while we can get all caught up trying to find the right answers (which don’t seem very pertinent to our everyday lives now, anyways), I think we should get caught up in something else altogether: how our best is good enough for God.
Our intentions matter more than our answers sometimes. Even when we don’t have all the head knowledge to the tough questions we face today, a genuine desire to love and please him is enough. In fact, it’s more than enough.
Let’s recognize the truth of verse 6:
“But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life.”
When we believe that there is only one God who is the creator and sustainer of all and when we believe that there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, who gives us life through his death, then we live out of a place of love. And it’s that love that matters most.
After all, “anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.” (v. 2-3)
So, let’s allow love to propel us. Love leads us to answers. Love gives us a hopeful confidence, a rare wisdom, a boundless faith.
Prayer: God, when we’re faced with difficult problems to untangle and solve, I pray you’ll allow love to propel us and compel us. I pray love will be our answer. Amen.