Should I or Shouldn’t I?
Do I belong to Jesus Christ? As a Christian, that question determines everything. “You were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s,” 1 Corinthians 6:20 tells us.
Glorifying God takes on new meaning in the details of life. How should I live? How should I live differently because Jesus has saved me? Paul said he was “separated to the gospel of God” (1:1). What does it mean to be separated?
The Bible teaches right and wrong on some things, but what should our behavior be in questionable matters? How should a Christian live in the grey areas? God’s Word lays out three guiding principles for living a separated, joyful life unto God.
Principle #1: Conviction
Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.-Romans 14:5
Conviction means you are “fully persuaded in your own mind” that you can give yourself entirely to it without reserve. If you can participate in something and maintain a close relationship with Christ, it’s not wrong for you. Our hearts determine our conduct.
One day we’ll give an account of our lives—every word, every choice (see 2 Corinthians 5:10). Too often, we try to straddle the fence, trying to go with the world and with God.
We also need to invest our energy and thinking to help us get along with each other. God is at work in each of our lives, though on His timetable. Respect what God is doing in others’ lives. Avoid what offends another Christian and focus instead on what builds up fellow believers. You don’t know how God is working in another’s heart. Don’t get in His way to exercise your freedom.
When you live with conviction, be convinced this is what God is pleased you do. Is this right for me to do? Can I do it with excitement, anticipation, and joy?
Principle #2: Conscience
When God’s Word hasn’t spoken to an issue, invite your conscience to evaluate it as right or wrong to do. Your conscience helps you act in a way consistent with what you believe. If the way you live isn’t compatible with what you believe, then it’s wrong. Listen to the Holy Spirit prompt you about the grey areas and how to walk by faith.
Principle #3: Consideration
Be thoughtful of others—it’s that simple. You might feel free in your convictions to do something, but how might it affect someone else? Consider how to live best in front of those who are spiritually weaker. Use your liberty, but don’t abuse it. Jesus was willing to die for that weak brother, and we certainly ought to be willing to refrain from doing something that would hurt him in his Christian walk.
As a Christian, your goal is to please the Lord. It’s not a question of whether it’s right or wrong. The real issue is, are you walking in the light? Don’t walk the thin line with the world and try to maintain a Christian testimony. To live like this is only to know a shabby, shoddy Christian life.
When you walk in the light, you show others the way to Jesus.