Count the Cost
Lord, You have captured and enraptured me with Your love. Continue Your amazing, transforming work in me.
1 Corinthians 10:14-22
Consider: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom. 12:2). This is not easy, but it is required of us as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul knew from personal experience how much it cost to make a stand for Christ in a hostile society. He understood the difficulties faced by the Corinthian Christians who, if they refused to attend pagan banquets, could leave themselves open to ridicule, ostracism, and economic hardship. Much networking was done in the temples. If Christians refused to take part, it would be likely to harm them socially and financially. Why then does Paul still insist that they "flee from idolatry" (14)?
Well, Paul demonstrates that sacred meals, whether Christian Communion, Jewish sacrifices, or pagan feasts, identify the partaker with the deity in whose name the food is being eaten. Although pagan temple worship may well have been offered to worthless idols, those statues of wood, stone, or metal were, in fact, the material representation of a demonic reality. Therefore, to participate in sacrificial ceremonies held in honor of these idols was to associate the participant with the satanic presence manifest at such communal meals. Christians simply must not go there. Their devotion is to God, not demons!
Does compromising our faith just a little really matter that much to God, if it makes it easier for us to live in peace and prosperity like everyone else? The answer is a resounding "Yes!" By wanting to be like the idolatrous peoples around them, the ancient Israelites made God jealous and incurred his wrath. That was precisely why so many of them perished in the desert (6-11). Paul wants to spare Christians the same pitfalls. Certainly, daring to be different for Jesus' sake can arouse people's hostility, but surely that is a cost worth paying to avoid provoking God's jealousy and displeasure.
Idolatry has been described as dishonoring God by preferring other things over him. Time for a check-up: Does this apply to you?
Lord, my heart's desire is to please You at all times. Forgive me for the times I have brought You displeasure. Empower me to live for Your glory.
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