As Americans we often talk about political rights as a way of protecting political freedom. The more rights, the more freedom; the fewer rights, the less we are free. In this arena, personal and political freedom is the goal. In Christianity, we possess tons of freedom, more than we often realize. Paul speaks about our Christian freedom in Romans 14 and we refer to this section as concerning “Christian Liberty”. But, although we possess much liberty (personally and corporately), our freedom is not the goal, our goal is the glory of God. Romans 14:5-8,
“One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be the Lord both of the living and the dead.”
The point: However you decide to exercise your personal convictions, remember, it's not about what you do or don’t do. It’s about honoring Jesus. Are you seeking to walk and honor Jesus with your convictions, choices???
Wow, what a great question for us today in the midst of our unique season. Do you hold your life convictions for self glory or for Jesus’ glory? After all, Jesus didn’t die so that Matthew Nihiser could be Lord of his own life or lord over your life. Jesus died and rose again so that He would be Lord and Master over all of our lives.
Could we pray on this matter together today? Am I honoring Jesus in my talk and walk? Let’s use 1 Corinthians 10:23-25 as a springboard for prayer:
“All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful (1 Cor. 10:23)” -- In Christ, I have many freedoms and have been freed from finding righteousness in my efforts. My righteousness is in Jesus. But, have I used my freedom to advance the glory of Jesus? Or, have I used my liberty in Christ to feed my Ruling Desire (Power, Pleasure, Peace, Preservation, Possessions, Praise)? “God, help me choose those convictions, lifestyle choices, and issues that are helpful to your work and may these bring you greater glory.”
“All things are lawful, but not all things build up (vs. 23b)” -- I have many freedoms but do I use my freedom to tear down others and impede the Mission of Christ? Or, do I hold my freedoms loosely, allowing God to give and take, and focus my attention on building up the discouraged, building up the unsaved via the Gospel, or building up other disciples. “God, grant me wisdom to discern how to build up your Kingdom and the glory of Jesus in others!”
“Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor (vs. 24)” -- “Lord, help me not get so caught up with my freedom that I forget my neighbor. Keep me sensitive that I would not argue with you about ‘who is my neighbor?” but that I would seek to be like Jesus to all those that I come across. Keep me from offending my neighbor with my freedom. And, if offense is to be made, may it be the Gospel that I share and not my tone or words.”
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the Glory of God (vs. 31)” -- “God, grant me the grace and joy of seeing your glory in my life, home, church, and community. And, keep me focused on my goal, the reason for my salvation, to bring you glory in all I do.”