February 20th, 2007
Humanly speaking, the temptations which we encounter in our daily lives often are too strong for us. We develop cravings and become addicts. We become enslaved by our dependencies. Our lives become ruled by our passions. But when you become a follower of Jesus, there is a way out of the slavery to our addictions. In today’s reading, Paul said that God is faithful, and he will keep temptation from becoming so strong that we are unable to withstand it. When we are tempted, he offers us a way out so that we do not have to give in to it.
Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians — Chapter 10
10:1 Friends, I do not want you to be unaware that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea. 10:2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 10:3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. They drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. 10:5 However God was not happy with most of them, and they were slaughtered in the wilderness. 10:6 Now these things were examples for us, so that we should not crave evil things as they did. 10:7 Do not be idol worshippers, as some of them were. It is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to amuse themselves.” 10:8 Do not engage in sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand died. 10:9 Do not test the Lord, as some of them did, and were killed by snakes. 10:10 Do not grumble, as some of them did, and were slaughtered by the destroying angel. 10:11 These things happened to them as examples and were recorded as warnings for us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 10:12 Those who think they are standing should be careful they do not fall.
10:13 You have not faced any temptation which is not faced by other people. God is faithful, and will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. With any temptation he will provide a way out so that you can withstand it. 10:14 So run away from idol worship, my dear friends. 10:15 I am speaking to reasonable people. Judge what I say. 10:16 When we bless the cup of blessing, are we not participating in the blood of Christ? When we break bread, are we not participating in the body of Christ? 10:17 There is one loaf of bread, and we who are many are one body because we all eat part of the one loaf of bread. 10:18 Consider the people of Israel. Are those who eat the sacrifices not partners in the altar?
10:19 I am not saying that a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything. 10:20 But I do say that people sacrifice things to demons, and not to God, and I do not want you to be partners with demons. 10:21 You cannot drink both the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot be partners in both the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 10:22 Do we make the Lord jealous? Are we stronger than him? 10:23 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are constructive. 10:24 Seek other people’s good, and not your own. 10:25 Eat whatever is sold in the butcher shop without asking questions for the sake of conscience, 10:26 because, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” 10:27 If someone who does not believe invites you to a meal, and you accept, eat whatever is set before you without asking questions for the sake of conscience. 10:28 If anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” don’t eat it for the sake of the person who told you, and for the sake of conscience. “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” 10:29 I do not mean your own conscience, but the other person’s. Why is my freedom judged by someone else’s conscience? 10:30 If I eat with thankfulness, why am I denounced over something for which I give thanks? 10:31 Whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God. 10:32 Do not offend anyone, whether Jews or Greeks or the church of God; 10:33 even as I also try to keep everyone happy in all things, not looking after my own interests, but the interests of many, so they can be saved.