Monday, June 05, 2017

Limiting Our Freedom

I thought this had to be one of the best devotionals I've seen to make application of this scripture. It comes from the "Parenting by Design Daily Devotional" in the YouVersion Bible app. The original only referenced verse 9, but I thought it fitting to include a bit more for context.

Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that "an idol has no real existence," and that "there is no God but one." For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many "gods" and many "Lords"— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. (1 Corinthians 8:4‭-‬13 ESV - http://bible.com/59/1co.8.4-13.ESV)

Many people believe a "good" Christian lives by many rules. In fact, the opposite is true. A strong believer doesn't need a lot of rules. He needs only a few guiding Biblical principles he can apply to any situation. It is actually the weaker Christian who needs more rules because he doesn't have the wisdom and discernment necessary to apply Godly principles to difficult situations.
But, a strong Christian may give up some freedom and follow more restrictive rules so a weaker Christian will not misinterpret his actions. In parenting, we might consider staying away from activities that could become stumbling blocks when seen through our kids' immature eyes. This passage should influence our choices about alcohol, the movies we watch and even the jokes we tell. Although we might be able to maintain a healthy balance, we don't know where our kids may be especially vulnerable to temptation. We should sacrifice some of our privileges until our kids have the maturity to know when, where, and why to abstain.
Being a good example may require you to give up some of your freedom until your children are wise enough to exercise the same discretion.
Obviously, as this devotional is directed at parenting, it has application there, but it's really just an application of scripture with much more broad application opportunity. I've looked at this scripture today from my own perspective and continue to make application; as a Christian, a man, father, husband, public performer, artist, etc. The religions of the world require many lists of rules. The heavenly Father gives very few that are necessary if we are walking with Him.

Thank You, Lord, for your simple Truths.
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