“‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, ‘This has been offered in sacrifice,’ then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of [his] conscience. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10: 23-24,27-28,31-33
Paul was sold out. He who had grown up as a stickler for Jewish laws had been transformed into one who followed a different code– that of “whatever you do, do for God– His glory, His purposes, His people, His gospel.” Our human bent is to conform to rules, regulations, diets, schedules, agendas, to-do lists; we crave some kind of order or plan and adjust our lives accordingly to accomplish whatever end we are pursuing.
But the Lord calls us here to invert that thinking inside out, and put Him and others first, always. This is radical, and often requires radical change in our intention and will. Only God can transform my selfish filter of ‘efficient, comfortable, productive, safe, makes me feel good, what I deserve, possible, what I have time for, what I want/like to do,’ into one of ‘helpful, upbuilding, the good of others, the sake of others’ conscience, the glory of God, no offense, please others, their advantage, that they might be saved.’
How many decisions do I make that advance my agenda and satisfy my wants and desires? How might I adjust my daily plans, what might I do differently, what might I give up, if I were really aiming to glorify God in everything, and do all for the good of others?
O God, have Your way with me, through and through! I am Your servant in whom You are to be glorified. You created all things for Yourself. Revolutionize my thinking and motives and energy by Your good and powerful Spirit, that I might breathe, think, plan, and do all for Your glory and the good of others, just as my Savior Jesus did. All to Him I owe. (Isaiah 49:3; Colossians 1:16; Philippians 2:3-5)