(I apologize for the length of this post, but if you stick with me, I think you will see the value of discussing this topic. Please comment!)
I wanted to post about "choices". If you've read my blog for very long, you will probably have come across choices in lifestyle that are very different from your own. I want you to know that even though it is tempting to think our choices are the "right" way of doing things we truly do not believe that is so. Listen to these fabulous verses from Jeremiah:
"This is what the Lord says:
'Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth for in these I delight,' declares the Lord." (9:23-24)
I do not want to boast in anything but what God has done for me by making me his adopted child through the payment of the blood of his very own Son. How you spend your money, your time, where your children go to school, if you eat organic or at McDonald's, whether you drink wine or water, (dare I say) how you vote, or choose to have no children or a brood...It's all a matter of liberty. I will give you the freedom to be you and I hope you will give me the freedom to be me.
Under the Lordship of Christ we all have liberty to live as we believe is most pleasing to Him. "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another" (Gal. 5:13). Our liberty is not freedom to serve ourselves only, but to pursue our highest joy in God by loving one another. We have no liberty to do what the Bible defines as sin.
"All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify" (1 Cor. 10:23). When we find that a sister in Christ differs with us on how to best use her liberty, we are not to condemn her. Paul asks, "Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls;" (Rom. 14:5). We must wait to see what the "fruit" will be.
The "Liberty Garden"
Each Christian’s life-style is like a garden which belongs to the Lord. Though God demands good fruit from every garden, He gives each gardener liberty to "plant" and to "weed" as he believes will bear the most fruit. Over time, the cumulative effect of each gardener’s decisions will produce a "harvest" either of glory or of regret. It is this "fruit" that will justly vindicate or indict each gardener’s use of his own liberty.
In this simple analogy, each Christian’s life-style is like a garden which, it must always be remembered, rightfully belongs to the Lord. God demands good fruit from the liberty garden of every Christian life. However, in order to help us grow in maturity and wisdom, He has chosen to give us real liberty and discretion to "plant" and to "weed" as we believe will bear the most fruit for His glory. The goal of every decision as to what we choose to cultivate and what we choose to eliminate must always be to bear a greater harvest of what is pleasing to God.
I have to admit it is a constant struggle for me to let others "love God and do as you please" (Augustine). But I think of these verses to remind myself who the real Judge is and to leave that business to Him.
"There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you- who are you to judge your neighbor?" (James 4:12) "Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgement seat." (Romans 14:10) I encourage you: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24)Let all of us pray to become more meek and humble towards our fellow men as we follow Jesus.
So let us spur one another on towards love and good deeds and experience the freedom to follow Jesus wherever He may lead us. We need to be in prayer for one another as we follow Him on difficult and different paths. To God be the glory!