The Real Food
But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 1 Corinthians 8:8-9
How often do you think about food? What types of cravings do you get for your favorite foods? snacks and mad dashes through our favorite drive-thrus are part of our lives and culture. Hunger is a drive necessary to sustain life while appetite is a desire to satisfy our cravings for food. Food is a necessity to our physical bodies and to enjoy good food is one of our greatest pleasures. However, even with all its necessity, this earthly food has no value to us spiritually.
If Paul is saying that what we eat, or do not eat, has no effect on our relationship with God, then why can we not eat whatever, drink whatever and be merry? One reason is because the choices that we make impact others. We must realize that our actions are being watched by others and that we have a responsibility as Christians to set godly examples for others. God does care about the behaviors and attitudes we exhibit that affect those around us.
There are numerous examples of this behavior in our churches today. Movies and television choices can influence our families and friends. What kind of example do we set for those in and out of the church? Would seeing certain movies stumble others? What about drinking alcohol? Many Christians have no problem with limited alcohol consumption. But, would it not influence the Christian who feels that this type of drinking, without exception, is wrong? Some might argue that the Christian church in general stumbles non-believers, because much of our behavior is not just in the world, it is of the world.
Food is not the real issue, but it is certainly representative of how our behaviors as Christians can greatly affect those around us, even if there is technically “nothing wrong” with certain activities. Jesus gave His life for us so that we can have the real food—the bread of life. If we follow Him, our choices in this world will bring glory and honor to His name while also setting the right example for others. We should pray not to get hung up on things of no value spiritually but to get caught up in the Spirit of God so that we may be a blessing to others, not a stumbling block.
~Daily Disciples Devotional~
Patience in Repentance
In yesterday's devotional, I mentioned Hosea 6:1 as a challenge to repent if indeed God is convicting you.
Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
God is indeed a God of compassion Who wants you to return to Him. That is the nature of His grace!
It's not unusual to truly repent of a sin, to seek to return to God and walk with Him, but not feel anything right away. And perhaps, to get discouraged.
The verse that follows Hosea 6:1 gives us a good word as a clear encouragement. Here is what Hosea 6:2 says,
After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight.
You need to understand that the evidence of revival may not be perceivable right away. That is why I believe Hosea says, After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up.
You need to be careful not to say, "Well, Lord, you have until lunchtime today to do something. And if it doesn't happen by then, I'm out."
God wants you to stick with your commitment to repent. He wants to know you are serious in your desire to walk with Him.
Remember the words of Zechariah 1:3, "Return to Me," says the Lord of hosts, and "I will return to you." Returning to God is something you can do. But only God can do God's part.
If you will return to Him, He will return to you.
Brethren, pray for us.
This one morning in the year we reserved to refresh the reader's memory upon the subject of prayer for ministers, and we do most earnestly implore every Christian household to grant the fervent request of the text first uttered by an apostle and now repeated by us. Brethren, our work is solemnly momentous, involving weal or woe to thousands; we treat with souls for God on eternal business, and our word is either a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death. A very heavy responsibility rests upon us, and it will be no small mercy if at the last we be found clear of the blood of all men. As officers in Christ's army, we are the especial mark of the enmity of men and devils; they watch for our halting, and labour to take us by the heels. Our sacred calling involves us in temptations from which you are exempt, above all it too often draws us away from our personal enjoyment of truth into a ministerial and official consideration of it. We meet with many knotty cases, and our wits are at a non plus; we observe very sad backslidings, and our hearts are wounded; we see millions perishing, and our spirits sink. We wish to profit you by our preaching; we desire to be blest to your children; we long to be useful both to saints and sinners; therefore, dear friends, intercede for us with our God. Miserable men are we if we miss the aid of your prayers, but happy are we if we live in your supplications. You do not look to us but to our Master for spiritual blessings, and yet how many times has He given those blessings through His ministers; ask then, again and again, that we may be the earthen vessels into which the Lord may put the treasure of the gospel. We, the whole company of missionaries, ministers, city missionaries, and students, do in the name of Jesus beseech you, "BRETHREN, PRAY FOR US."