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Balancing Act

Daily Reading: 1 Corinthians 8-9

Scripture Focus: Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. (1 Corinthians 8:12)

Devotional Thought: Paul spends much time in his letters convincing Jewish converts of their freedom from the law. It must have been extremely difficult for those devout, law-following Jews to grasp, that the grace offered to them by Jesus should replace their efforts to make peace with God through the law. But, Paul argues the other side of that scenario as well. Eating food offered to idols has no spiritual significance under the new covenant, however, believers should be aware that doing so could become a stumbling block to the weak, and should therefore abstain.

And so today, it also goes both ways. The Church is made up of people from all different backgrounds, ways of thinking, and deeply ingrained beliefs that are secondary in importance to the core beliefs of the saved. There is freedom in Christ, but we should never abuse that freedom or practice it in such a way that causes others to stumble. On the flip side, those who are legalistic should be careful to not impose their personal convictions upon all other believers.

How do we accomplish this balance, and for what purpose? The answer comes from Paul in chapter 9. “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them… I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings,” (1 Cor. 9:19, 22-23). Who among us wants the guilt of causing another believer to stumble, or preventing a nonbeliever from coming to Christ? We should, like Paul, consider our personal freedom of lesser importance than sharing the gospel and all of its blessings.


Prayer: Lord, help us to lay down our rights and our pride for the sake of making you known. Give us the discernment we need to know when we are laying a stumbling block for a brother or sister.

Psalm of the Day: 114.1-8

1 When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, 2 Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion.

3 The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. 4 The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs.

5 What ails you, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back? 6 O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs?

7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, 8 who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.

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