Read 1 Corinthians 8:1-13
“‘We all possess knowledge. But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.”
We don’t hear much about food sacrificed to idols these days. But it was certainly a thing for the church in Corinth. Heathens would offer meat as a sacrifice to the gods they worshiped. The fat of the meat was burned off on the altar, but the rest of it was either eaten by the idol worshiper or it was sold by the priest performing the sacrifice. So, it wasn’t uncommon for this meat to show up at a neighbor’s dinner party or even on the table of someone in the church. And, while some of them knew it was fine for eating, as idols are literally nothing in this world, others of them were scolded to abstain from such meat.
Some of them knew that what they ate had zero effect on their relationship with God, and they lived in the freedom of that knowledge. Others, though, felt differently.
Their consciences wouldn’t allow them to eat so freely.
So, when a grace-filled, knowledge-wielding Corinthian came across an opportunity to participate in something they knew might cause one of their spiritually weaker brothers or sisters to waver, Paul made it clear what they were to do.
Let love be the deciding factor.
Value their spiritual brothers and sisters more than themselves (Philippians 2:3). Those living in lawful liberty were to base their decision on love, rather than on their knowledge. Because love builds up, but knowledge only puffs up. They were to build up their brothers and sisters instead of puffing up themselves.
Maybe you’re invited to hang out with a group of friends at the brewery after work and you know it’s just a place to spend time with your friends and that it will have no impact on your relationship with Jesus. But you’re also aware that one of those friends has recently given up drinking alcohol after deciding to trust Jesus alone with his whole life. He’s been convicted to live like this, and he is watching you as you follow Jesus. Let love be your guide. Value your friend’s growing faith over your own knowledge. Trust that God will use your loving consideration to build up and strengthen your friend’s new faith.
Let love be the guide as you follow Jesus through hard-to-discern choices. Don’t let what you know trump the love God is working in and through you.
Let Him use you to build others up!