For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol's temple, won't that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols?
Thoughts for Today:Paul has previously instructed that eating meat that was once sacrificed to idols does not make us better or worse in God's sight. However, this knowledge must be balanced with a greater principle: Love. In other words, we must always be aware of how exercising our freedom might influence those who are weak. But why are some people "weak"? Here are three illustrations:
1. New Christians. In our culture we are conditioned to believe that we must "pay our dues", "there's no free lunch", and "work our way up the ladder". Those thoughts may apply to our vocation, but nothing could be farther from the truth when it comes to our faith. It does take some time for new Christians to grow in understanding that the ways of the Lord are completely different than the world's. Over time we learn, the Cross is both the starting point and finishing line. We don't fight for victory, we fight from a position of victory -- with confidence the victory has already been won. This is completely different than the world's teaching. So until they learn this truth, new believers become especially sensitive to everything they do. Why? Because they don't want to risk failure in God's eyes.
2. Spoiled Brats. Hebrews 5:12: "In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!" Some people simply refuse to grow. They won't come to a Bible study, small group meeting, men's or women's retreat, or even regular fellowship with other believers. They stand on the outside, never going deeper, wanting to be fed, yet not willing to put forth any effort. As a result, they become locked in a state of perpetual spiritual immaturity. They never grow.
3. Frightened Children. Some kids are afraid to go into the world. They don't go to the park because they fear bee stings; don't learn to swim or go swimming because they are afraid of drowning; and don't have any friends or meet new people because they are wary of strangers. The spiritual world can work the same way. If fear of the world keeps us from being in the world, then we're missing a very important piece of who God made us to be in Christ. Fear leads to all sorts of restrictions, and keeps us locked up safely in the house of legalism.
Questions to Ponder:Do you see yourself in any of these descriptions? What about in the lives of others who God has given you to mentor? It is only by growing in our faith that we develop spiritual maturity and the liberty that comes as a result. Today, how will you take the first step on the path toward spiritual maturity?