Our youngest child is learning how to drive and one thing that is very difficult for her to understand is that other drivers have certain expectations. For instance, you expect a driver to stop at a red light, you expect them to know how to perform a four way stop, and you expect the driver to get up to speed before entering the highway. The world also has certain expectations of the Christian. They expect Christians to have a higher standard of living. They do not expect to see a Christian coming out of the bar, or displaying road rage or not doing their best for their employer.
The same thing was true in the days of the apostle Paul. In 1 Corinthians 10:23-29, Paul speaks about the believers in Jesus not eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols, because the other people would take offense at their freedom to do so. He starts off by saying, all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable and then says let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor and then he says to do this for the conscience’ sake.
In verses 29-33 he says “I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by others conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks? Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”
To put it simply, yes, you are free, free to drink or to display road rage or to be an unproductive employee, but does that bring other people to Jesus that they might be saved? Paul is trying to teach us that the other person’s soul is far more important than the things that we want and to keep our eyes on the kingdom’s goal instead of our own desires.
Father, help us to be what the world expects a Christian to be, that we might save some. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.