“Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” 1 Corinthians 8:13

Sometimes I forget that Paul was a real person who sacrificed a lot for the people he cared about. “I will never eat meat again…” was a statement that makes you think, wow, he must really, really love the people in his life. I think about all the things God has done for the people around me and myself, and I am really amazed at why God gives so much for people who sometimes turn away from him. Paul’s statement really models Christlikeness for me. It is not that he is willing to give up something he enjoys, it is that he genuinely values others’ spiritual growth over his own freedoms.

Paul was willing to defer something for the sake of someone else. Sometimes I have to wrestle internally to defer what I want or my freedom. Of course, Paul saw Jesus as his Lord and Savior, he understood the call he was given and he lived to bring glory to God. Since his purpose guided his choices it was easy for him to possibly become a vegetarian for the good of others. So here is my question for us to ponder, what is the purpose God has given you? This is bigger than work, hobbies, relationships, or responsibilities- how has God uniquely wired you to live for his glory? Jesus tells us to live in such a way (Matt. 5:16) and we will see Paul echo those words in a few couple chapters (1 Cor. 10:31). So will we take the time to let God transform us (Romans 12:1-2) to live in a way that prioritizes his glory and purpose over our worldly desires or needs? The answers for these questions are vital. If we take time to try to explore the answers, then I think we actually find freedom in the purpose God has for us.

Paul found his purpose and he chose to defer his freedoms for the sake of others. If you know the purpose the Lord has given you, take a moment and thank God! Encourage a friend or two who might need some direction. If you don’t, take a moment and ask God to help you find it! The beauty of God’s love is how he constantly gives so we can continue to grow. Let him help you and if we can help, we are here for you!

Jeremy Johnson
Family Pastor

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