How hard is it to just give a straight answer? That’s what many in the Corinthian church may have been thinking as they read through Paul’s letter. They had written him asking some questions that, at least in their minds, were pertinent to following Jesus wholeheartedly. Questions like, “If we are single, should we get married?” And, “Are we allowed to eat food that’s been sacrificed to idols?” I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t seem like those questions should be all that challenging to answer with a simple affirmative or a negative. And yet, Paul’s answer is anything but black and white – it’s gray, ambiguous, and a bit tough to pin down.

I’m not sure if you can relate, but it seems like we all have times in our life when we go to God for an answer, and he gives us wisdom to apply rather than a law to implement. Should we make the move? Which job should I take? How do I care about this person in my life who is driving me crazy? It’s questions like those that we ask God about and we often get the same answer Paul gave the Corinthians, “it depends.”

That presents a problem for many because the draw to religion is often a black and white world view that answers all our questions and eliminates ambiguity and mystery. We assume when we ask questions that have massive implications for the rest of our lives, God would give a clear, unambiguous answer. However, we see in 1 Corinthians 8 that God gives us principles more often than answers. He tells them to choose love over knowledge, to defer to others rather than exerting their rights, and to choose worship of the true God over idolatry. Those principles don’t explicitly answer the questions that were asked, but they do give them principles to apply as they seek to follow the Spirit.

Now, I want to be clear, there are a lot of things God is very clear about, but there were other questions the Corinthians had that they wished Paul would be more direct in answering. So this week, when you’re not quite sure how to respond, ask yourself the same question Paul encouraged Coinrhtian believers to ask, “What does it look like to love? What will allow me to worship the one true God most fully?” And trust that the Spirit at work within you will direct you and lead you toward flourishing.

Ryan Paulson
Lead Pastor

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