READ: 1 Corinthians 10:14–11:1
THINK: Where and how do you spend your social, recreational, entertainment and leisure times? How do these times and places influence you and others? Are you a better person for the time spent on these activities? Do others benefit? And above all, is God honored by your attitudes and behaviors associated with these times and places? It’s not just a matter of spending time in overtly spiritual places; you need to be where you can influence those who don’t know Jesus. But in the process, be sure that you’re not compromising your faith and that you’re truly influencing people for Christ. Make sure that the things you associate with honor God, reflect His character and bring others closer to Him. (Review 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 study notes for background on the issue Paul wraps up in this passage.)
RESPOND: What is “the cup of thanksgiving” and what does it represent? (See 10:16 note.) To what occasion do verses 14-16 refer by using the illustration of the cup and the loaf? In what way do Christians partake of and participate in Jesus sacrifice? In what way were the pagans of Paul’s time making offerings to demons? (See 10:20 note.) In what way were those who joined in feasts at idol temples “participants with demons”? (See 10:21 note.) How can our own spiritual freedoms and preferences sometimes cause us to disregard what’s best for others (vv. 23-24)? What should be a Christian’s primary concern in making choices regarding matters of personal preference and conscience? (See 10:23-24 note.) What’s your spiritual responsibility if you’re aware that your actions or choices may offend or mislead others who are sincerely trying to follow Jesus or are looking to you for an example (vv. 27-28)? Why must a follower of Jesus consider other people’s consciences and not just his or her own? What should be the goal of a Christian’s life and choices–first in regard to God, then in regard to others? How should following Jesus’ example affect your life, faith, character, actions and overall relationship with God?
PRAY: Ask God for wisdom, guidance and discipline not to associate with things that honor ungodly practices and could mislead others in their efforts to see and serve Christ. Pray that you’ll honor God in all you do and don’t do.
ACT: Review 1:1 note on following Jesus’ example. Practice these principles today and everyday. Also, review article on Food Sacrificed to Idols, p. 1634. Apply the principles summarized in the last paragraph to specific situations in your life.