On the one hand, this chapter doesn’t connect with my life. I don’t live in a world where meat in the meat market has been sacrificed to idols. However, I do live in a culture with a growing fascination with new age spirits and spiritualism. Maybe dealing with those issues is the current day application for this chapter, at least it seems one possibility for me living in the ‘modern’ west.
This chapter deals with one issue and the entire issue is speaking to my heart, so it is difficult to lift out 1 or 2 verses. That said the heart of the teaching is in verses 4-7:
So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled (4-7).
I know there is only one God and that idols are really nothing but others do not know this. They believe in spirits and new age energy and so on and so forth. Therefore I must not, for the sake of love, let my knowledge of the truth destroy someone who is not as knowledgeable as I am.
Ouch, here is what the Lord is whispering to me. My behavior can affect others who are watching me, so I will moderate my behavior out of love so that it doesn’t negatively affect a brother or sister who does not yet know things of the faith God has taught me.
I travel to Africa and will not collect African art associated with African gods. This is not because the ‘gods’ are real or that they will bring an evil presence into my home, but because a sister or brother might think I recognize those African gods and get the wrong idea seeing my art.
So now God has me considering my life. Are there things I am doing that some others associate with ‘idols’ or ‘gods’ that could harm a weaker brother or sister? This will take some thought to sift through...
Lord, show me if there are areas of change I should adopt to protect others in my life who are newer on the journey of faith with You. This is my prayer… in Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.