Friday, October 31, 2014

Known by God

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Now about food sacrificed to idols: we know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God.
1 Corinthians 8:1-3
Read those verses a couple times and ask yourself: Why is loving and being known by God the answer to haughtiness in knowledge? I would have picked something like, "the fear of the Lord," but Paul says this; it seems kind of like an odd combination to me.
I had the privilege of sitting next to Curt Thompson, M.D., on a plane once. He told me about a book he had written, Anatomy of the Soul, which is about the importance physiologically to being known by others and God. It was an idea I had only heard a few times, as the Western church puts way more emphasis on knowing God, usually through disciplined actions. But look at this:
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.)So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
John 11:1-3
I heard a great Judah Smith sermon about this verse, where he pointed out that the sisters only said, "the one you love is sick," rather than list all of the reasons he might be worth saving otherwise (i.e. - he's a great brother, he is a pillar of the community, he loves you). Apparently, the way to God's heart is to focus on how much He loves us, rather than how much we love Him. In this way, it makes sense that God's love would be a combatant for arrogance, as we clearly don't deserve it, so how could we be haughty? 
The rest of 1 Corinthians 8 is about how we should be careful to not exercise our freedom at another brother's expense -- in this case, it meant eating food sacrificed to false idols, which meant nothing to the mature believer, but would potentially be a stumbling block to someone with weaker faith (and not weaker in a bad sense, just newer).
Paul says:
Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.
1 Corinthians 8:13
As a meat-eater, I can say with assurance: that is love!
And so we are humbled by God's love for us, and allowing that to invade our lives will overflow into unreasonable love for others. That's a beautiful thing!

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