What are my Freedoms?
1 Cor 10:23 All to the Glory of God
We often talk about our rights. With July 4th approaching, we hear more about the rights of an American and the freedoms that we enjoy. It is sad that so many people do not understand where their rights overshadow someone else’s. Whether it is abusive behavior, bad language, stealing, etc. the actions of others infringe on what are our rights.
But, isn’t it the freedoms in CHRIST that are more important? Regretfully, we hear people say that they do not want the restrictions of being a Christian. They see Christianity as oppressive and restrictive. Think of the excerpts from a speech by Martin Luther King, “free at last, free at last, thank GOD Almighty, I am free at last.” We are truly the only free people.
It is a mark of spiritual maturity when we balance our freedom in CHRIST by responsibility.
1 Cor 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.
The important thing is to give GOD the glory and to edify both others and the Church. We want others and the Church to grow. It is not about ‘me first’.
24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.
Pride pushes us to want our own way. Humility is esteeming others more than we esteem ourselves. Just because we have the right, does not mean that it is good for others. Love should be our guide.
The early Church was made up of people from many cultures, some with food prohibitions, some with idols, etc. To bring them together was Paul’s desire.
The Church today is still made up of many types of people. We are not to be stumbling blocks. Others may see our behavior as a reason not to stay or not to become a Christian. Our behavior might not have been wrong but was not understood. They may condemn our behavior, and this sets us at odds with the new believer or the prospect.
The same is true today with our witness to others. That old expression, “let our walk and our talk be the same”, has not changed. We can cause a brother or sister to stumble or cause an unbeliever to reject CHRIST by our example.
Again, just because we have the right, does not make it a good witness to others. I am reminded of my father-in-law. On Fridays his buddies at the factory would walk across the street to a bar to cash their paychecks. He would not. He, as a Christian and as a deacon did not want to be seen coming out of a bar.
Rom 14:16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;
Paul pointed out that the goal is to honor GOD, to give Him the glory!
This is also the basis for evangelism. We are responsible to win the lost. We do not know the level of someone’s understanding or what will be offensive or confusing. We ask The Spirit to give us the right words to witness to someone. We must get to their level of understanding to reach them.
Knowledge must be balanced by love, lest it tear down rather than build up. We have all met hardliners that want to drive someone to CHRIST. It does not work. Thankfully, The Spirit is ready to give us the guidance that we need. We have only to ask.