7/21 1 Corinthians 8:1

1 Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that "all of us possess knowledge." This "knowledge" puffs up, but love builds up.

"All of us possess knowledge" must have been another of the phrases that the Corinthian church frequently used to justify eating meat that had been offered to idols. Meat was difficult to come by other than through pagan temples. The Corinthians apparently believed that their knowledge of there being only one true God allowed them to purchase the meat offered to idols that are really nothing but stone.

Paul is warning them that "knowledge" can puff us up. If we think we know more than our brother and act in a way that wounds his conscience, then that knowledge is an excuse to act out of pride. Love builds up our fellow believers. Love will act in ways that does not cause others to stumble. Pride in our knowledge tramples over others' sensitivities.

The spiritually mature thing to do is to set aside our freedoms for the sake of others. To be truly free is to walk in the Spirit, and the first fruit of the Spirit is love. Spiritual strength in the Lord will deny oneself for the sake of others in order to build them up. Love will not do anything that might destroy a weaker brother.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to love my fellow believers like You do. Help me to be aware when I might offend a weaker brother or sister in word or in deed. Give me the love that will deny my freedoms for their sakes. Show me how I can build them up.