How about drinking or smoking?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked that question. Let me start by saying that this blog won’t tell you what to do and what not to do. If you have a relationship with Jesus, redeemed by His blood and empowered by His Holy Spirit, I pray you’ll be able to build convictions that will honor God by seeking Him.
We are all called to holiness. And this holiness has to be gospel-driven. What does gospel-driven holiness mean? It is a gripping response to His grace – that out of our gratefulness for His redemption, we respond with a heartfelt desire to please Him in every way.
Back to smoking and drinking.
Paul, the apostle, declares in 1 Corinthians 6:12, “Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial.” (NIV84)
He is saying that because of my freedom in Christ, I can actually do anything I want. However, in the same breath, not because I can, I should. Everything may be permissible but not everything is beneficial.
Question. Can I eat my laptop computer? Technically, I can. But because I can doesn’t mean I should.
A few chapters later, Paul gives us principles that I would like to share with you. It has helped me make decisions through the years. I can’t give you a list of do’s and don’ts, rules and regulations. What that would do is to catapult us back to legalistic self-righteousness and performance orientation. My goal is to help us think through all that we do in the grid of these 3 questions.
1. Will this glorify God?
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Co 10:31)
Paul exhorts us to do everything for the glory of God.
Isaiah 43:7 (ESV) tells us that we have been created for His glory.
“Everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
The preposition “for” tells us that we were created by Someone intended for a particular purpose – for His glory.
2. Will it cause anyone to stumble?
Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God. (1 Co 10:32)
It is true that everything may be permissible. But the Apostle Paul makes it clear that our freedom should not cause anyone in the faith to stumble. If what I am doing causes someone to stumble or cause their faith to weaken, then I shouldn’t do it.
3. Is it a good example to follow?
Two verses later in the following chapter, Paul declares “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1)
Will what I will do be a good example to follow?
If my kids see me, will it be a good thing to imitate? I realize the dichotomy in some of our statements at times to our children. “Do as I say, not as I do.” It seems that there may be a double standard somewhere. The Father that calls our children to holiness is the same Father that calls us as well.
If people who are far away from Christ see me, will it be a good example for them to follow?
I wonder how many people far away from Christ have been turned off by us because we haven’t been good examples.
I pray that these 3 questions would help us build convictions that will lead to a lifestyle of gospel driven holiness. The question is not how close I can stay by the cliff before I fall off but how far I can be from the cliff so that I don’t displease the One who gave His life for me.
Have a great week ahead.