By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
How do we decide what to do about those issues the Bible does not specifically or clearly address? Let me share four questions you need to ask yourself about those gray areas of the Christian life.
Notice I said, “Questions you need to ask yourself.” Every Christian has to come to their own conclusion about these issues. In Romans 14, Paul addressed the issue of eating and drinking, and he said, in essence, “Quit judging one another.” We are not to try to play the Holy Spirit and convict other Christians of what they need to be doing in areas the Bible does not address specifically. We need to give Christians the freedom to come to their own conclusions, not impose our convictions on them.
So how do we make up our minds? First, ask, what does the Bible say? Much of what we need to know is already addressed in God’s Word. God will never lead you to do something that contradicts the clear teaching of His Word.
Second, what do those in authority over you say? For example, maybe you like to smoke cigarettes, but your employer has a no-smoking policy. Guess what? You have an obligation to obey the one who is in authority over you. You cannot disobey those authority figures whom God has placed over you for your protection.
Third, what does the eternal-investment principle say? That is, even though this activity may be permitted, is it the best use of your time and money? Is it what you ought to be doing to further the kingdom of God? In 1 Corinthians 10:23, Paul wrote, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.”
Finally, what does the weaker-believer principle say? If what you do leads another Christian to violate his or her conscience, then you have to come to the same conclusion Paul did: “If food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble” (8:13). In John 13:35, Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples.” By what? Not by our Bible knowledge or by our church attendance. No, He said, “If you have love for one another.” That is the law that governs our behavior as Christians.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Meat Market Christianity” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.