There was a quote a read recently that has stuck with me since I saw it, I think it may have been a tweet, “looking at our culture you’d think self-expression, not self-control is a virtue.” I’ve thought a lot about that after I read it. I think there is a lot that is there. Today’s ready from 1 Corinthians 8: 9-13 brought it back to my mind:
9 But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? 11 So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. 12 But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.
In Paul’s day, there was much debate in the church about what you could and could not eat. Should you eat food that has been dedicated to idols? Should you not? What should you do as a Christian? This is something that you see over and over in the New Testament. What should a Christian do?
Paul here really lays it out here. You know what? Sure, you can. It’s your right. You can do it. But, if you in you doing it, and your harm another person, as a Chrisitan, should you really do it? Is it worth it?
That’s why Paul says, if food bothers someone, then I’ll never eat meat.
They matter more than meet. They matter are more important.
In our culture, you (or me) doing what we want is the most important thing. Or at least that is what we told over and over again. But according to the Bible, me being willing to sacrifice myself for you, that is the most important thing.
It’s not about me. Really. It’s not. Rick Warren starts off his book The Purpose Driven Life with that statement: “it’s not about you.” It’s not about you, or me. It’s about loving you, or me, more than we love ourselves.
I should love you more than I love doing what I want. I should lay down my life, my preference for you. Because you matter. Jesus died for you. He loves you.
And if I get what I want but harm you, have I really accomplished anything?
Self-control is a virtue. It is a fruit of the spirit. And it is an awareness that it is really not all about us. And here’s the awesome thing. That’s where freedom comes from. Freedom is not doing what we want all the time, are living for ourselves. Freedom is living under the grace of God. Because then we are truly free.
Today, let’s remember that self-control is a virtue. Let’s remember that just because we want to do something, or even that we can do something, doesn’t mean that we should. Let’s live for God. Let’s live for others.
And in that, let’s find true freedom.