Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Judgment Calls!

Philippians 3:15-16

     I hope all of you who are mature Christians will agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must be sure to obey the truth we have already learned.

     There are some things in the Bible that just aren’t black and white and can be interpreted in many different ways, which can cause disagreements and arguments among Christians. Paul is warning against such kind of behavior, in this portion of Scripture.

      As mature Christians, we need to learn how to put aside our differences of opinion on petty matters and focus on the weightier, more meaningful, topics of Christianity. Whether we wear jeans or a dress to Sunday morning service really won’t make or break our salvation experience with the Lord. After all, the Lord looks at our heart, not at our outward appearance. Unfortunately, it’s man that looks at the outward appearance and brings about a judgment call way too often. (Please understand that I’m not condoning seductive appearances, in any shape or form)  If the Lord impresses upon your heart to always look your best as you attend church services, then by all means, dress accordingly. But we are not to take what the Lord impresses upon our heart and place that same conviction upon everyone else, especially when it’s a small matter that doesn’t really affect our salvation. We need to work out our own salvation on a daily basis. Trying to work out someone else’s salvation is just plain wrong and immature. God is a big enough God to speak to others just as easily as He speaks to us.

     Does that give us free reign to live any way we like, and interpret Scripture any way we see fit? Absolutely not! The Bible is very clear on many points and we need to be knowledgeable about what it has to say, and obedient in living it out in our own lives. But there will be times and situations where certain points won’t be as crystal clear as others and that’s where we need to commit those questions to the Lord. He will make it plain to us, if we will just ask for His guidance and direction.

     When I first became a Christian, at the age of 16, my family and I were told by the leadership of our church at that time, that I had to give up the dance lessons that I had taken since I was a young child. Now these dance lessons were the typical tap, jazz and ballet classes that a good majority of young girls often take as they’re growing up. My mother had been a dancer, and therefore started me in classes when I was just four years old. I loved to dance, and had acquired quite a talent in that area of my life. I often dreamed of moving to New York one day and becoming a professional dancer. It wasn’t simply a hobby for me, it was a passion. The news of having to give up my passion, in order to serve the Lord, was absolutely heartbreaking to me. I had a very difficult time understanding why. I felt the Lord had given me that particular talent, so why would He make me give it up? But I trusted the leadership of my Pastor, and I walked away from my one true passion, believing that it would make me a better Christian.

     As I have grown and matured in the Lord over the past 30 years, I’ve come to realize that innocent dance lessons have absolutely no bearing on who you are as a Christian. It’s a hobby, just like football, baseball or cheerleading. Can hobbies become destructive and ruin your walk with the Lord? Yes! When a hobby becomes more important than your relationship with the Lord, or if you use your hobby in a sinful, lustful manner, than you run the chance of displeasing the Lord and ruining your Christian witness.

     My point to all of this is this; be very careful when interpreting God’s Word, especially when it has to do with something that isn’t very clear. Go to God, and ask Him to show you truth. And then, receive that for yourself. Don’t try to pass judgment and condemnation upon others. Allow God to handle that, in His way and His time.

     Where are you today? Are you working out your own salvation? Or do you tend to pass judgment on others? Ask God to reveal some areas in your own life that you need to work on. Ask God to forgive you for judging others. When questioning whether you should participate in a certain activity or not, ask yourself this question; “Would I be ashamed or embarrassed if Jesus showed up while I was participating?” Answering that question will help you move forward with clarity and a pure conscience.

Have a great day!

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