REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Charles Choe who leads Tapestry Church in Los Angeles, is an updated version of his blog first posted on June 25, 2014. Charles is a graduate of University of California, Riverside (BA) and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Something to Consider Regarding Our Freedom in Christ”
1 Timothy 5:14-15
So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15 Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.
Lying, cheating, slandering, stealing, and sexual immorality are all clearly sin. But things we ought not to do are not always so clear. Like for example, Paul, in 1 Corinthians 8, is instructing the young church how to manage food that was offered to idols. Paul knows there is no such thing as other gods, so it’s a moot point that certain meats were offered to these idols. But by the same token, Paul knew that for some in Corinth, eating food offered to idols was akin to idol worship itself. So he advises those who thought it was acceptable to eat to restrain from their liberty for the sake of not causing others to stumble. This is why Paul says, “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble” (1 Corinthians 8:13).
Of course, we are free to enjoy whatever the Scripture does not forbid. Even if someone thinks it’s wrong, it shouldn’t really matter since it’s not wrong. However, our freedom must always be wrapped in concern and care for others. If our freedom actually leads someone else to violate his or her conscience, then we have become a stumbling block. Love for my brothers in Christ guides and restrains my liberty in Christ. Love always triumphs over liberty. Unity always triumphs over personal rights.
It’s this principle Paul has in mind when he counsels Timothy to have the young Ephesian widows remarry. It appears that many of the young widows in Ephesus were using their singleness in a scandalous behavior; and because of that the Ephesian church was being slandered (1 Timothy 5:14-15). So Paul tells the young Ephesian widows to correct this problem through living in a way the wider culture might esteem: Get married and have children and manage your home well. There is no commandment to do so; but if it helps others from not stumbling, we ought to pursue that path.
In giving this principle, Paul is saying that we should not create unnecessary obstacles to the Gospel. If it helps to advance the Gospel, we ought to consider doing it, whatever it may be. We are free to eat, drink, dress or go anywhere we please; after all, we are free in Christ Jesus. But our guiding question should be, Does this advance the Gospel? If it doesn’t, then we must be willing to let go of it, adjusting our choices so that the Gospel takes front and center in our lives. Consider if there is anything in your life you may have to surrender your freedom for so that the Gospel is advanced.
Prayer: Lord, help me to examine my life. May I always be on mission. May advancing the Gospel be the reason for what I do and don’t do. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 9
Lunch Break Study
Read I Corinthians 9:19-23: For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.  To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.  I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
- What is Paul’s aim in making himself a servant to all?
- What does “winning” look like for the apostle Paul?
- According to v.23, what is the ultimate reason for all that he does? Could you say this is how you would define your ambitions?
- He aims to be a servant to all so to win them over to Christ.
- Saving people into salvation.
- Paul does all things ultimately for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our lives should reflect same value.
How much did the Gospel get advanced through your life today? Consider how it was reflected in your thoughts, words and actions today.