In First Corinthians chapter eight, Paul is writing about the effects that our behaviors as followers of Christ can have on others. He reminds us that we are holding ourselves up as an example to others of how to follow the commandments of Christ, and that we have to always remember this as we are going about our day.
He talks about this in verses nine through thirteen of this chapter, and gives the example of how it may to appear to others to be seen partaking of a meal in a temple to an idol that he himself doesn’t believe in. He says, “For if others see you–with your ‘superior knowledge’–eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol?. So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer, for whom Christ died will be destroyed. And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ. So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live–for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.”
This is a very specific example that we can apply to our daily lives in a general way. It stuck out to me tonight because I said something on a whim at work tonight that was classless and just such a remnant of my old self. I have not felt like myself since I’ve been sick the past few days and I don’t know if I can attribute it to that and maybe the steroid pills I’ve been prescribed to fight this bronchitis or if those are just excuses. But I just blurted out something that was such a holdover from the time before I started following, or at least trying to follow, the commandments for how we are supposed to live in Christ’s words, and I cringe now every time I think about it.
The old me would have done something like this for attention, to fit in with others. Since I have recommitted my life to Christ after interacting with him as the consciousness of the sun over several years while using a legal substance, I understand that we all need to ‘fit in’ with Jesus, and only Jesus, because he is the one who can cleanse and purify our souls if we accept the Salvation he offers us through repentance and forgiveness of sin. He is the spiritual authority we need who will come into our lives and guide us to heaven once we pass into the spirit world, and when we accept this precious gift of his guidance and Salvation, we need to live our lives representing this promise to others.
In other words, I acted out of selfish ego drives tonight, forgetting that I have a relationship with Christ as his follower and that I have turned over my life and my soul to his guidance. I remember how empty I used to feel when I behaved this way, but now I have a purpose and a relationship with God and Christ. I don’t have to seek attention in the old ways I used to; in fact, I don’t have to seek human esteem at all. But I do have to behave in a way that shows others that I love and revere Jesus Christ and his standards, and that his path is different from the one of the world. If I don’t let my small human light illuminate the path to Christ, those whom I am supposed to show it to might not get a glimpse of it at all. When I am acting in a completely self-centered way like this, I can completely lose touch with my mission.
I have remorse about how I behaved, and I repented and know I have been forgiven. I still have the sting of feeling how poorly I represented Christ tonight just because of lapse of my behavior and judgement. I hope I can draw on this pain in the future, and on the wisdom in these verses of Paul’s, so that I won’t so easily make this mistake again.
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