Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1
No words. Just music and moving. During a twenty-four-hour Zumba marathon amid the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of people from around the globe worked out together and virtually followed instructors from India, China, Mexico, America, South Africa, parts of Europe, and several other places. These diverse individuals were able to move together without any language barriers. Why? Because instructors of the exercise craze Zumba, created in the mid-1990s by a Colombian aerobics instructor, utilize nonverbal cues to communicate. Class instructors move, and students follow their lead. They follow with no words uttered or shouted.
Words can sometimes get in the way and create barriers. They may cause confusion such as the Corinthians experienced, as noted in Paul’s first letter to them. It was confusion brought about by differing views of disputable matters pertaining to the eating of particular foods (1 Corinthians 10:27–30). But our actions can transcend barriers and even confusion. As Paul says in today’s passage, we should show people how to follow Jesus through our actions—seeking “the good of many” (10:32–33). We invite the world to believe in Him as we “follow the example of Christ” (11:1).
As someone once said, “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words when necessary.” As we follow Jesus’ lead, may He guide our actions to cue others to the reality of our faith. And may our words and actions be done “all for the glory of God” (10:31).
What nonverbal faith cues are you showing others through your actions? How are people able to see Christ in your words and actions?
Father God, thank You for the example of Jesus. Show me how to follow Him in actions and in words every day.
In addition to today’s passage (1 Corinthians 10:23–11:1), Paul also dealt with the topic of conscience and freedom in Romans 14. There he upheld the great privilege of freedom in Christ. Yet in both passages, he warned against causing others to stumble. In Romans he wrote, “Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister” (14:13). And 1 Corinthians 10:24 says, “No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” Our overarching guide should be our love for our neighbors and for God.