But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 1 Corinthians 8:8-9
How often do you think about food? What types of cravings do you get for your favorite foods? snacks and mad dashes through our favorite drive-thrus are part of our lives and culture. Hunger is a drive necessary to sustain life while appetite is a desire to satisfy our cravings for food. Food is a necessity to our physical bodies and to enjoy good food is one of our greatest pleasures. However, even with all its necessity, this earthly food has no value to us spiritually.
If Paul is saying that what we eat, or do not eat, has no effect on our relationship with God, then why can we not eat whatever, drink whatever and be merry? One reason is because the choices that we make impact others. We must realize that our actions are being watched by others and that we have a responsibility as Christians to set godly examples for others. God does care about the behaviors and attitudes we exhibit that affect those around us.
There are numerous examples of this behavior in our churches today. Movies and television choices can influence our families and friends. What kind of example do we set for those in and out of the church? Would seeing certain movies stumble others? What about drinking alcohol? Many Christians have no problem with limited alcohol consumption. But, would it not influence the Christian who feels that this type of drinking, without exception, is wrong? Some might argue that the Christian church in general stumbles non-believers, because much of our behavior is not just in the world, it is of the world.
Food is not the real issue, but it is certainly representative of how our behaviors as Christians can greatly affect those around us, even if there is technically “nothing wrong” with certain activities. Jesus gave His life for us so that we can have the real food—the bread of life. If we follow Him, our choices in this world will bring glory and honor to His name while also setting the right example for others. We should pray not to get hung up on things of no value spiritually but to get caught up in the Spirit of God so that we may be a blessing to others, not a stumbling block.
~Daily Disciples Devotional~