Did you know 90% of the choices you make as a Christian involve areas where Scripture says surprisingly little? Things such as what you wear, where you go, how you spend your free time— generally in the scriptures you won’t find many explicit instructions. Of course Scripture forbids all clear-cut sins such as lying, cheating, stealing, or adultery etc. and also clearly calls us to pursue Christ and grow in our faith. There is, however, one class of questions that seems to fall somewhere in the middle. These are the issues dealing with Christian freedom—things that fall between what God prohibits and what He commands. Can I suggest that we run these decisions through the following grid of 5 principles from God’s Word, so as to find clarity and true freedom to live your life to God’s glory.
1) Will it be beneficial spiritually? 1 Cor. 10:23 says “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify”. The idea of “edifying” is to build up, therefore this verse enables us to ask will this decision build me up spiritually?
2) Will it bring bondage? 1 Cor. 6:12 says “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything” In this verse Paul is saying, “I will not be brought under the power of anything”. So if something might have the potential to form a bad habit, why should we even bother? We our bod-slaves to Christ and nothing else.
3) Will it defile God’s temple? 1Cor. 6:19-20 says our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit so why do anything that will harm or bring your body shame? Your bodies are the only instrument you have to glorify God.
4) Will it cause anyone to stumble? Romans 13:10 explains the principle of Love for our neighbors, so why continue to indulge in a legitimate freedom that causes problems for another Christian?
5) Will it bring glory to God? 1Cor. 10:31 says “Therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”. This verse is clearly both the summary and the goal of all the principles listed above. Should not our heart’s cry be to glorify our Lord and Savior with our lives? Think about your decision—Will He be glorified, honored, and praised through it? May we say along with Jesus, "I glorified You on the earth" (John 17:4).
So next time you face a decision where Scripture is less than specific, run it through the principles above and enjoy your freedom in Christ.
Contributed by Alex Townsend