One of the hardest lessons for me to learn after I left home had to do with common sense. When I was a teenager, we had computer bulletin board systems (BBS) before AOL or the Internet as we know it. Therefore, we had very little exposure to the world and its ways outside of movies, television, and travel experiences. In bigger cities like New York, Los Angeles, or Washington, DC., there was a greater chance to meet different people with different senses. However, in rural Maryland, where I grew up it was a slim chance.

My first stop after leaving home was basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. It was here that I was first exposed to people who, for all intents and purposes, lacked the common sense to survive basic training. Instead of reaching out to these “stupid” people to help them. I, like many of my cohorts, ridiculed them for their ignorance. I am a long way away from that naive and arrogant person I used to be, but I don’t want to forget that I used to be like that. This leads me to this verse from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.

Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.

1 Corinthians 8:1 (NIV)

Paul’s use of the word “now” merely indicates that he’s moving away from talking about marriage in 1 Corinthians 7:40 and is addressing a new issue. You might note that 1 Corinthians 7:1 also started out with the word, “now.” Specifically, it started with the statement, “Now for the matters you wrote about.” This lets us know that letter is part of a written discourse between Paul and the church at Corinth. Therefore, Paul is addressing some issues already brought up to him.

In this first verse of the eighth chapter, Pauls addresses food sacrificed to idols. However, is Paul just talking about food? From my experience, the answer is no. The second verse confirms that it’s not just food Paul is talking about. (If you’re not familiar with 1 Corinthians 8, then you can read it here).

Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much.

1 Corinthians 8:2 (NLT)

I believe it was for this reason, that “knowledge puffs up while love builds up” that Jesus said this to Apostle Peter:

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

Matthew 16:17 (NIV)

I am referring to Peter’s declaration that Jesus was the Messiah. When no one else recognized Him as such, Peter did (cf. Matthew 16:15-16).

Although Paul does talk about food here in 1 Corinthians 8, we know it’s not just food he’s talking about. If it’s not just food, then what else could Paul be talking about? I believe we can look forward to 1 Corinthians 10 for the answers to this question.

I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

1 Corinthians 10:23-24 (NIV)

We see this same idea elsewhere in Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.

Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul brings up the issue of food to those who might still follow Judean beliefs regarding idols and food. However, we can also apply this to those Christians who might believe something different than us. For example, my pastor was raised with the notion that going to the movie theater to watch a movie was wrong. Therefore, he doesn’t go to the movies, and on the rare occasions where he has gone to a movie, he felt very uncomfortable about it because he felt like he was doing something wrong.

Although my pastor knows that going to a movie theater isn’t a sin, and doesn’t condemn those who do, he doesn’t want to be invited to one. I’d say this falls into this situation that Paul talks about here in Romans.

But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

Romans 14:23 (NIV)

Again, Paul is talking about more than food here.

This tells me that the “common sense” we have as Christians may not be so common to every Christian. Certainly not to the world. Therefore, as Believers, we ought to be aware of those differences between us that may not necessarily fall into clear and clean definitions of what is sinful and what is not. We can identify the acts of the flesh: “sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies,” but it’s not these I’m talking about (Galatians 5:19-21 NIV). It’s those things that we might hear someone say, “Going to the movies is a sin,” that might catch us off guard. Where we have to remember who we are in Christ and then respond with the love of Christ instead of leaning on our understanding (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:9-13).

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.