but you leave that blog or that conversation and it has you thinking.
this is where it gets tricky. what is from the spirit and for me and what is from the spirit and for them. i know it gets tricky because i have seen it in my own life. i have seen it on the web too.
what happens often is, someone is truly convicted from the spirit to make a change in their life. they are convicted about small things or large things and they are obedient to the call to change. and it really changes them, it produces incredible fruit. it's amazing to see and even be a part of that transformation. so we read about their conviction, they so passionately lay before us, and we think...yes. that is good.
and surely it is for me too.
but is it?
i find comfort that this is not just a modern day conundrum, it has been happening for a long time. bible times, people! and, in God's kindness, he allows it to be addressed.
romans 14 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master[a] that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
so there are 2 people, both believers, and one does something this way, and the other does something that way.
but it feels so so so black and white to me. this IS the right way. but paul says that we don't get to judge people's convictions, because it's not our job. it's God's. novel idea.
5 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. 6 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. 7 Fornone of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.
i find great comfort in this as a body of believers. it frees me to acknowledge what is hard for me to admit, that there are more ways to walk out a profession of faith than, well...my way. it's arrogant, but we're all the most arrogant people we know right?
people can do or not do something, FOR HIS HONOR. to his glory. something i have been called to abstain from, God uses someone's non-abstaining in the same way. to point to him. it is crazy to think about, but he made our body of believers to function this way. and for good reason...it sure is hard to make God look like me when i read that.
doesn't my God vote like me and listen to the same music as me and fly the same flags i fly? wait. that sounds a lot like another me.
it also frees me to not be so stinking judgmental to people who do things differently than me, in the name of Jesus. i'm not the judge. that's pretty clear..i mean, he says it a couple times in there so i don't forget. he's got this.
i don't have to beat other people down with my conviction-- i can certainly talk about it and believe that we should. but to prescribe particular ways of being a believer that aren't specifically outlined in the bible as close handed issues, to other believers because it is my way and it has been awesome for me! is particularly an issue we need to be aware of. careful about. soft towards.
mark me as guilty. i need work in this area, but the more i stare at jesus and what he did for me, the more i am called to submit my hard headed stubbornness of the idea that my way is everyone's way.
and honestly, i think it's unhelpful to each other as sisters in christ. loading up one another with nuanced opinions and burdens that don't belong to them. pushing our deeply particular convictions on people when perhaps, God is doing a different work in them. if there's something to preach, let it be liberty in Christ. we all have so many expectations placed on us, heavy things. if there is something we can do for each other, let us remove heavy bags and preach to each other to rest in the work He has already done for us. perfectly.
(here's a picture from the internet. you're welcome.)
i pray that we can all have tender hearts with each other in this area. where we can be firm when needed, and soft towards others who are in a different place, with a different calling than us. that we can be unified in Christ, all pointing to Him and not to particular nuances of personal convictions.