Monday, August 13, 2012

Many "gods" and many "lords"

The title for an engaging book comes from 1 Corinthians 8:5-6
For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
This verse is part of a great chapter about freedom and responsibility, which also includes this gem: "Knowledge puffs up but love builds up" (from 2 Corinthians 8:1).

The passage is more specifically about food sacrificed to idols, but Paul mentions, almost in passing, what the point of our lives is, and what should direct us. Looking at verse 1, I have to ask myself sometimes, "Am I one of those people who wants to know more, so I can feel good about myself (puffed up)? Or am I seeking to build up those around me (as Romans 15:2 says)?"

It struck me, though, that if verses 5-6 are true of me—that is, if I live for God the Father and through Jesus Christ my Lord—then I won't be trying to puff myself up; rather, I'll want always to build others up. I'll be more concerned about the impact my actions have on others, and not so excited about insisting on my own way. And here's another trap I'll be able to avoid:

The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God.
1 Corinthians 8:2-3
Rather than thinking too much about my own "knowledge," I'll rejoice in being known by God. And what do I know, anyway? More important than that: Who am I living for and through? And does He know me?

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