1 Corinthians (The Message Version unless otherwise noted)
1 Corinthians 10
1-5Remember our history, friends, and be warned. All our ancestors were led by the providential Cloud and taken miraculously through the Sea. They went through the waters, in a baptism like ours, as Moses led them from enslaving death to salvation life. They all ate and drank identical food and drink, meals provided daily by God. They drank from the Rock, God's fountain for them that stayed with them wherever they were. And the Rock was Christ. But just experiencing God's wonder and grace didn't seem to mean much—most of them were defeated by temptation during the hard times in the desert, and God was not pleased.
Jesus, I know I can be defeated by temptation too. I am weak, only You are strong. You have shown me Your grace and I have seen Your wonders. Do not now let me fall back into sin. Keep me Lord.
6-10The same thing could happen to us. We must be on guard so that we never get caught up in wanting our own way as they did.
Jesus, I want things to work out my way all the time! I think I know what is best for my family and myself. Some problem arises and I think it is awful. Lord, all these things, they may be Your way. And I know I am to serve others, not make the serve me. Keep me in Your way Lord.
And we must not turn our religion into a circus as they did—"First the people partied, then they threw a dance." We must not be sexually promiscuous—they paid for that, remember, with 23,000 deaths in one day!
Jesus, You know this is a source of great temptation for me. My mind can wonder and imagine so easily. My way would be for You to just take this temptation away, but I know that is not Your way. Keep me vigilante to avoid the things I know will tempt me. And when I am tempted, use the occasion to draw me closer to You, but don't let me fall.
We must never try to get Christ to serve us instead of us serving him; they tried it, and God launched an epidemic of poisonous snakes.
Jesus, I know I serve You when i serve others. remind me that "Whatsoever you do, for the least of my people, that you do onto Me."
We must be careful not to stir up discontent; discontent destroyed them.
Jesus, this one really hits home. I am so easily made discontent with my life, and then I complain and spread that to others. You have put me here, it is Your choice, not mine. Help me to rejoice in it. Help me to let Your love flow through me wherever You choose to send me.
11-12These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don't repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence.
Jesus, I have fallen in the past because I was not vigilant. I thought I was done with some habitual sin and started to be a little less careful…and very soon after that I would fall back into the evil habit. Lord I know it could happen again. Please, keep me vigilant. Keep me close to You. Keep me walking with You so by that very nature I am far away from temptations. I can't do it without You Lord. Keep me close.
13No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.
Jesus, I know this is so true. When I fall, it is because that is what I chose. Somewhere I decided not to turn to You but instead to think about the sin. I know that when I turn to You, You are there and rescue me. Why would I not turn to You constantly? Yet, I don't. Change me.
14So, my very dear friends, when you see people reducing God to something they can use or control, get out of their company as fast as you can.
15-18I assume I'm addressing believers now who are mature. Draw your own conclusions: When we drink the cup of blessing, aren't we taking into ourselves the blood, the very life, of Christ? And isn't it the same with the loaf of bread we break and eat? Don't we take into ourselves the body, the very life, of Christ?
Jesus, it seems almost too much. Your life in me through a cup of wine. And to think that Your very life becomes part of me. It doesn't seem possible that I could share life with You, You are so pure and I am not. And yet, if Your life is in me, and Your blood was shed for me, I am pure like You. Lord open my eyes and heart to understand the purity You have given me and to treasure it moment to moment in my daily life.
Because there is one loaf, our many-ness becomes one-ness—Christ doesn't become fragmented in us. Rather, we become unified in him.
Jesus, now You are telling me that I am one with all the other Christians out there. So when I sin, I'm dragging the innocent Christian with me and when I do good, I bring them all good. Lord, help me to be truly good, right to the core of my being. Help me bear the fruits of the Spirit in my daily life so I am bring good and not evil to all my brother sand sisters. Change me Lord.
We don't reduce Christ to what we are; he raises us to what he is. That's basically what happened even in old Israel—those who ate the sacrifi
ces offered on God's altar entered into God's action at the altar.
19-22Do you see the difference? Sacrifices offered to idols are offered to nothing, for what's the idol but a nothing? Or worse than nothing, a minus, a demon! I don't want you to become part of something that reduces you to less than yourself. And you can't have it both ways, banqueting with the Master one day and slumming with demons the next. Besides, the Master won't put up with it. He wants us—all or nothing. Do you think you can get off with anything less?
Jesus, does that describe most of my life or what? How often didn't I get up and pray and read Your Word, and then later in the day read a pornographic story? Why is it even tempting to do that now? Why was it then. You want me all or nothing. Please don't change that. Want all of me and discipline me so You have all of me. Life in You is so much better. Help me remember the hell of my sin and rejoice in Your salvation and love and presence every minute of every day. All of me!
23-24Looking at it one way, you could say, "Anything goes. Because of God's immense generosity and grace, we don't have to dissect and scrutinize every action to see if it will pass muster." But the point is not to just get by. We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well.
Jesus, please help me to not just get by, but to thrive and to help my family to thrive also. Lord, I know You take no pleasure in a lukewarm or mediocre Christian. Help me to not be that Lord. Help me to grab Your hand and run the race of life. And Lord, whether it be by my example or by something else, help my family to do the same thing.
25-28With that as a base to work from, common sense can take you the rest of the way. Eat anything sold at the butcher shop, for instance; you don't have to run an "idolatry test" on every item. "The earth," after all, "is God's, and everything in it." That "everything" certainly includes the leg of lamb in the butcher shop. If a nonbeliever invites you to dinner and you feel like going, go ahead and enjoy yourself; eat everything placed before you. It would be both bad manners and bad spirituality to cross-examine your host on the ethical purity of each course as it is served. On the other hand, if he goes out of his way to tell you that this or that was sacrificed to god or goddess so-and-so, you should pass. Even though you may be indifferent as to where it came from, he isn't, and you don't want to send mixed messages to him about who you are worshiping.
Jesus, help me to not send mixed messages about who I am worshiping. I know I have done that in the past, and may be doing it right now! Last night we were with friends and You were only talked about a little, but we talked about wine a lot. So often in the past I have become fixated on something I was doing and that would be all I would talk about. I'm so sorry. When You listen to me, which is all the time, You must be so disappointed in how seldom You come up.
Lord, change me. Help me to be obsessed with You and talk about You all the time. You are totally involved in my life, surely You should be mentioned in every conversation. Change me Lord. Help me to truly make it clear by my words and deeds who it is I am worshiping.
29-30But, except for these special cases, I'm not going to walk around on eggshells worrying about what small-minded people might say; I'm going to stride free and easy, knowing what our large-minded Master has already said.
Jesus, You know I worry way too much about what certain people are going to say. Help me to get over that Lord. Help me to think about You, thank You, act and live for You, and not worry about what others think, say or do so much.
If I eat what is served to me, grateful to God for what is on the table, how can I worry about what someone will say? I thanked God for it and he blessed it!
31-33So eat your meals heartily, not worrying about what others say about you—you're eating to God's glory, after all, not to please them. As a matter of fact, do everything that way, heartily and freely to God's glory.
Jesus, what a great way to live: "heartily and freely to God's glory." Wow, that is a great description of a life well lived. I don't know what that has never struck me before. It is so simple, so obviously what You want, and it sounds so appealing. Lord, help me do that!
At the same time, don't be callous in your exercise of freedom, thoughtlessly stepping on the toes of those who aren't as free as you are. I try my best to be considerate of everyone's feelings in all these matters; I hope you will be, too.
Jesus, so I guess You are telling me not to worry about what others think if I am doing something for Your glory, but don't be unnecessarily mean or rude either. Kindness is a wonderful thing. I love people who are kind. Lord, help me to live a life a kindness for Your glory.