1 Corinthians 8:1-3, 10-11; 9:22-27 NLT – Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. 2 Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. 3 But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.
10 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? 11 So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for whom Christ died will be destroyed.
22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.
24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
A couple of years ago, I acquired “new knowledge” on God’s grace, miracles of healing, and word of prophecy, and was given faith by Jesus to eagerly practice these spiritual gifts. Some people say it is getting weird, mystical, too licenscious to do sin, and not officially allowed by the leaders of the church thus a taboo. Also people are getting proud of this knowledge thus coming as condescending on other believers who do not know yet about this “new knowledge.”
With all these negative “fruits” of my eagerness to practice these spiritual gifts, you may think that since the fruits are bad, maybe the tree is bad. So why do I still continue to do it?
Even with all these seemingly bad fruits of my eagerness to practice these spiritual gifts, I am fully convinced that what I am doing is from God. I actually became “born again” again because of these spiritual truths that God enabled me to gain faith on. I became hungrier for God’s Word. I became hungrier to help people love God more. And I do it not because the bible says so, but because God loves me so much and has given me so much. It just comes out naturally out of worship for God’s great love for me. Also I have seen with my own eyes that healing sick people, and giving faith to people by words of prophecy certainly helps people a lot to suddenly realize that God is REAL and God truly loves them NOW! It naturally leads them to love God more, and later on towards discipleship.
About the bad fruits, we also need to be careful not to let these get out of hand by heeding the words of Paul in the verses above. Try to be ministering to anyone at his own level of “knowledge.” If it is weird for him for you to lay hands on him while praying, then do not do it. If it is weird for him for you to be quoting bible book names, the chapter number and verse numbers, then do not do it. If it is weird for him for you to be saying “hallelujah glory to God” in every sentence, then do not do it.
Also, never be condescending on anyone whom you think has less knowledge of the scriptures than you. God loves these people so much that He does not force His knowledge upon them. Let us also not allow ourselves to be the one used to destroy them just because we know something they don’t. Just love them and lovingly help them gain the same faith on the “new knowledge” that God gave you.
If we keep our eyes on Jesus, remembering He died on the cross to make all of God’s good promises accessible to everyone (even your enemies), and eradicating every curse on the bible, thus proving He loves us all so sooo much, it would be easy, even natural, for us to want people to know about how much God loves them. Let us just continue to depend on Holy Spirit to help converse well with every person we talk to, so that we would not come out weird or condescending to them. Amen and amen.
P.S. Some tips on how not to come on as weird or condescending to people you talk to:
- Before going out to minister to people, ask Holy Spirit to help you meet people, and give you wisdom. Always remember Jesus’ love for you and all people.
- First moments of your meeting: Try to make friends with the person. Tell a detail about yourself but let the other person talk to you more about themselves by asking questions, probing to know his/her background. Start by saying “How are you doing?”, or “What’s up?”
- Do not use “Christian words” or quote bible verses, unless you are sure the person is a Christian, or s/he can receive such “weirdness.”
- Always ask first if the person wants to be healed by Jesus.
- Always ask first if the person will allow you to lay your hands on him/her.
- Ask if s/he believes Jesus wants him/her well.
- Do not mention names of pastors or churches that helped you gain the “new knowledge.” The person you are talking to may have bad or weird experiences with those pastors or churches which would immediately cause them to clam-up and not listen to you anymore.
- If you are a group of 3 or more people, all of you should not “gang-up” on one person. Divide the group so you go out to minister by 1s or 2s.
If you have anymore ideas to add to this list, please write a comment to this post. Thanks!
I know these are “dos and donts” but if these “dos and donts” come out through God’s overflowing love for us, then it becomes a spiritual act of worship, the “true kind of worship” God is looking for. Therefore, let us discipline our body and soul, that we may not be disqualified to let people know the great love God has for them!