In the world but not of it

December 23, 2009

A clear conscience…

Filed under: Uncategorized — In the world but not of it @ 5:00 am

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not
helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the
power of any. 1 Corinthians 6:12

There are two dimensions to this. There are the things we do
that seem okay for us but may not be helping us grow in our walk with God. They
may not necessarily be sin. They could simply be a “weight” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
that keeps us from running the race; a habit, attitude, relationship, and so
on.

The other side of this involves things we are doing that we
consciously know are not the best things to do yet we justify and rationalize them.

A few years back my wife and I were invited over someone’s
home for dinner. There was another couple there and the six of us had a
wonderful time talking, eating great food and enjoying each other’s company.

Later in the evening we decided to watch a film that had
recently been made and had received great reviews. As the film began it became
apparent that this movie was filled with profanity, the use of God’s name in a
not so pleasant manner and more. I must confess that at this point in my life I
was not as sensitive to these things as I am now. In fact, I would say that to
some extent I was desensitized.

But at this particular time in my life the Lord was showing
me just how the subtle areas of life we so easily rationalize really do have an
enormous impact on us.

The bad news is that the other couples felt bad about the
content but kept emphasizing the value of the film and reluctantly we stayed
and watched it. The good news is that this was a milestone in my life and the
Lord really used the scripture from today to teach me how important it is to be
selective, aware and careful about what I do and don’t do.

We can all agree that watching films with such content is not
good but let’s take this thought one step further since the essence of this
passage really takes shape in the things that are perhaps not as obvious.

In Romans 14:23 it says "Whatever is not from faith is
sin." If you look at the original language this verse is strongly
emphasizing that “everything we do” which is not from faith is sin. This
applies to absolutely anything in our lives that we do, that we consider moral,
ethical, just another part of the day sort of thing… anything and everything we
do, which is not from faith, which points back to a lack of trust in God is
indeed sin. We can convince ourselves all we want that it is acceptable but you
and I know inside how we view and feel about the things we do.

It could be an attitude we foster, it could be a program or
movies we watch with certain content or ratings, it could be music we listen
to, it could be a habit we engage in…what Paul was telling us in Romans 14 was
to enjoy the blessing of a clear conscience. In other words, don’t sin against
your own conscience. If you doubt what you do then it is not done in faith.

The problem with passages and topics like this is that some
interpret them as being legalistic, meaning that is it is about do’s and
don’ts. There is a difference between personal convictions and those things
that simply do not edify but rather tear the Lord and us down. Personal
convictions are things that you believe in vs. what someone else might believe
in and they are not necessarily wrong but rather a personal choice.

But there are things that simply go beyond personal
conviction and while it is not our place to judge another if we see a brother
or sister in the Lord engaging in activities or behaviors that are not
edifying, misrepresenting the Lord and even causing us or others to stumble, we
must go to them and speak to them about it.

Having a clear conscience brings great joy. Staying close to
the Lord ensures that our conscience and our heart stay aware on what is pure
and right and what isn’t. We can find all the reasons to justify what we do but
that is why the Holy Spirit convicts us. Just like Psalmist wrote; every way of
a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts…Psalms 21:2

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