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(Part 47)


February 12, 2012
Today’s reading: 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1

We live only for God. We live only to give glory to God. Everything else we do in life is founded on that basic principle. “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31). We look to God, not to ourselves. We look to His plan for our lives, not to our own plans. We give Him first priority over our lives. We do nothing that would keep people from giving Him the glory that is His due.

We are made in the image and likeness of God. Just as Jesus is the light of the world, we too are the light of the world. We are temples of the Holy Spirit. We have been given dominion over God’s creation. We are His instruments for proclaiming His good news of salvation to all, and God has made Himself dependent upon us in this. Thus, the glory to be given to God is much dependent on how we conduct ourselves.

How then do we conduct ourselves? “Avoid giving offense,” and “try to please everyone in every way” (1 Cor 10:32a,33a). Now those two ways of acting, first expressed negatively and then expressed positively, can be contradictory. Meaning to say, if you try to please everyone, you will end up giving offense to someone.

So what does it mean? Well, it relates not to how people will react, but to how our posture in relationships is. We have no control over how people react. But we control how we act. We avoid giving offense and try to please everyone by being loving and kind, not judgmental, not argumentative, careful with our words, mindful of our actions, peaceable, going out of our way to serve, and so on.

How do we accomplish all this? The key is in “not seeking my own benefit but that of the many” (1 Cor 10:33b). This is the essence of discipleship, where we deny ourselves. This is the essence of servant leadership, where we seek to serve and not to be served. This is the essence of being our brother’s keeper, where we look to our neighbor’s well-being even at the expense of our own. This is about a great desire and a steadfast commitment to be light and leaven in the world.

Further, it is ultimately about the good news of salvation in Jesus. We seek not to offend and seek to please everyone, in order “that they may be saved.” (1 Cor 10:33c). We are not just being Mr Nice Guys, we are being witnesses to Jesus’ saving deed. We desire not just to be acceptable to everyone, but for everyone to accept the salvation won by Jesus for them.

Thus ultimately our focus is on Christ. We avoid giving offense and we try to please everyone, not so that they will just look to us, but that in looking to us we are able to point them to Jesus. “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Cor 11:1).

Now was Jesus able to avoid giving offense and able to please everyone? No. The scribes and Pharisees were very much against him. Some of his own relatives thought he was crazy. Many of his disciples left him when he talked about eating his body and drinking his blood. The Jews did not like that he was a suffering messiah rather than a conquering king.

No matter. God was pleased. God said that Jesus was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. Well, that is the case with us as well. We live not for our own glory nor the acclaim of the people whom we have not offended and whom we have pleased. We live only for the glory of God.

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