1st Corinthians 8

Read 1st Corinthians 8 here.

Advent 2020 marks the calendar position for this writing. In the United States, one Christmas figure gets more flaunting and attention than any other—Santa Clause.

The legend of Santa Clause is told to children across a number of cultural barriers. Most of the time centering down on one key concept—Santa brings toys to kids who are nice and doesn’t bring toys to kids who are naughty. You can’t lie to Santa either. He sees you when you are sleeping and awake. So you better be good for goodness sake!

Ask any kid who has been naughty and they will quickly tell you, in relationship to Santa Clause—no way have they been bad! They want the toys. What about you? Does your own morality tell you that you have been naughty or nice? How could you know?

Let’s go through a suggested naughty list:

-Is it right for Christians to watch TV shows or movies with cussing/violence/nudity/crude joking?
-Should a believer drink alcohol or smoke?
-Should you allow your children or teenagers to play violent video games?
-Is it ok for a believer to play the lottery or gamble?
-To what extent can/should a Christian get involved in politics?
-Should you shop at a store that allows either gender to use whichever bathroom they choose?
-How should Christians view debt?
-How should a Christian vote?
-Is it ok to get tattoos or piercings?
-Should you use birth control or not?
-How should we view end-of-life decisions and procedures with regard to hospitalization?

These questions often determine if you are considered “good” or “bad”. Most of the time, the tensions I hear people share about the Christian faith have more to do with a controlled morality than a pursuit of Jesus. We take the cliché “cleanliness is next to godliness” and settle for being clean without fully surrendering to being godly.

This pursuit of good and clean creates obstacles for each of us to experience grace and love. And in that, we miss the incredible freedom and peace Jesus proclaims as good news.

Many Christians take the freedom Jesus brings and settle back into a life of bondage. We have exchanged chains of sin for more chains of sin. The pursuit of being “good” in the eyes of others hinders us from the most freeing place of all—sinners in the hands of grace.

More so, what happens in relationship to loving God and loving others is we begin to define what that love can and should look like. This results in putting obstacles before people and hindering others in pursuing God and receiving His great love.

Reflect:
  • If you could be “good”, would others love or like you more?
  • If you were “good” would God love you more?
  • Describe a time when you experienced “good” as an obstacle to God?
  • Describe a time when you made “good” an obstacle to someone else?
  • How does pure grace eliminate the obstacle of fake morality?
  • What do you think God wants of you as you read this?  

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