Integrity 101

1 Corinthians 10
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Jesus Christ shattered my view of my entire life.

It was not the convincing rhetoric of man, or the awesome feeling of being included in a big club, but the undeniable reality that the Lord made Himself real to me along with the rest of humanity, broke Himself willingly to kill sin for those who look upon Him, and rose anew to defeat death.

But sometimes, I can’t help looking back.

I see the lifestyles of others, how they live without conviction, and I say to myself, “Wouldn’t it be easier if I just quit?” The humanist would say I’m a judgmental bigot. The career-minded would say I invest my time in frivolity. Even my fellow Christian peers would say I’m a bit extreme and I need to calm down and let loose. The pressure to keep it up is often overwhelming

Then I read chapters like 1 Corinthians 10 and I remember what the pursuit is all about.

You see, this isn’t a game.  I’m not limited to boundaries, no one is keeping score, and I’m not here to entertain you.

This isn’t some occupation either.  I’m not in it for the money, there’s no “boss” to supervise my productivity, and I’m not looking to clock out any time soon.

It’s everything.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Paul’s statement here leaves little wiggle room. Do all to the glory of God.  That’s the engine and the fuel, ladies and gentlemen.

The context is primarily food, because Paul’s Jewish buddies were rather confused about whether it was okay to eat and drink with “sinners”, or rather, non-Jews who subscribed to idolatrous practices. In this case, as long as the food didn’t cause the Jews to stop serving God somehow, they should eat it so they wouldn’t offend their host. It sounds silly now, but eating with people was a big deal in that culture.

It’d be like getting in the car with a person that enjoys country music.  Sometimes you just have to tolerate it.

But what if a particular song or style of music invokes the worst in you? It’s better to just put it away, both for your own sake and the other party involved.  They might not understand, but isn’t it better to remove the sin and compromise instead of playing it off?

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.

If you proclaim to have Christ in you, it’s time to put off the things that divert you from serving Him wholeheartedly.  Certainly, that’s easy for me to say in a blog; many of us are imprisoned by addiction and bad habits and saying “no” might require further intervention.

But we cannot say we serve God and continue in our poor decisions like it’s no big deal. It makes it look like we’re just wandering around as if Christ is not within us, even if He certainly is. Everything we do must demonstrate a sincere attempt to obey the Lord.

I’m not imposing some decree of revolutionary behavioral change, but perhaps suggesting a renewal of fervency for doing what’s right: being selfless, helping the poor, and looking to honor God in all we do. The world needs a lot more of this, and a lot less compromise and bickering from and among Christians.

Let the Lord renew you today, and may what is said here, along with His Word, begin to shape your daily decision-making so that you might strive to be holy, and more importantly, so others may no longer stumble when they see you. Whether you feel like it or not, what you do today matters for the kingdom of God.

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