No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. 1 Corinthians 10:24
While reading on the train, Meiling was busy highlighting sentences and jotting down notes in the margins of her book. But a conversation between a mother and child seated nearby stopped her. The mom was correcting her child for doodling in her library book. Meiling quickly put her pen away, not wanting the toddler to ignore her mother’s words by following Meiling’s example. She knew that the child wouldn’t understand the difference between damaging a loaned book and making notes in one you owned.
Meiling’s actions reminded me of the apostle Paul’s inspired words in 1 Corinthians 10:23–24: “ ‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.”
The believers in Jesus in the young church in Corinth saw their freedom in Christ as an opportunity to pursue personal interests. But Paul wrote that they should view it as an opportunity to benefit and build up others. He taught them that true freedom isn’t the right to do as one pleases, but the liberty to do as they should for God.
We follow in Jesus’ footsteps when we use our freedom to choose building others up instead of serving ourselves.
Why does it honor God when you’re careful in what you say and do around others? How can you be more considerate of others in the exercise of your freedom?
Jesus, thank You for setting me free. Give me wisdom and grace to exercise my freedom in ways that truly honor You and bless others.
In writing these words to the church at Corinth, Paul was attempting to recalibrate their values and priorities. As a church family, the Corinthians had become marked by sin, division, pride, lawsuits against one another, and personality cults. The apostle was reminding them of what matters most. We can learn from his words as well. First, the glory and honor of God must be paramount in our thinking (1 Corinthians 10:31). Second, our example must not bring harm to anyone, but rather bring the grace of Jesus to all (vv. 32–33). Third, we likewise need examples to pattern the Christ-life for us (11:1).