1 Corinthians 8:8–9: “But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.”

May 19th, 2022 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Paul was referring here to some of the Corinthians’ habit of eating food that had been scarified to idols, thinking that they were spiritual strong enough for it to not matter. But Paul was saying that God was not impressed either way, because food does “not commend us to God.” What kind of food we eat does not bring us closer to God, nor does food help or hurt our cause for freedom. But what does matter is our love toward others, especially those in the family of God. As Paul wrote in Romans 14:1, “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.” Notice that it is the stronger believer who is to receive the weaker.

Concern for others is the issue at stake here. Because of the overriding principle of love, we are to take responsibility, to think about, the weaker brother or sister, watching the way we live out our faith before them so that they are encouraged to stay close to God and grow in Him. Cain’s old surly question to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9) is answered in these verses; and it is a simple and powerful answer, “Yes, you are your brother’s keeper.”

God is others-centered, and He wants us to become more and more like Him. We are to stay focused on God and others, keeping our eyes off ourselves. Self-centeredness leads us away from God, denying self leads us closer to Him. 1 John 3:11 tells us, “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” Will it get us ahead in the world? Probably not. There once was a Carpenter who didn’t overcharge for doing finish work. There once was a Physician who healed the sick for free. There once was a Man who fed people at no charge. What did they do with Him? They crucified Him! Jesus said that we are to come and die with Him, so that we might live with Him for eternity.

“LORD, we do choose to die to our own desires this day and live for Yours. Guide us we pray in Jesus’ name.”