During my book signing this past weekend, I was sharing with some friends about the spiritual breakthrough I had a couple of years ago when it came to making decisions. While I cannot recall the day, I do remember coming to the realization that I would actually be held accountable by God for the decisions I make and the words I speak. I now take serious what Paul wrote:
“So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12)
I too often in the past (and I’m still struggling with this), concerned myself with worldly things without viewing them through the lens of a Biblical worldview. I would rely on my persuasive powers and grasp of knowledge to overcome any opposing viewpoint. This of course never works when evangelizing, be it with the gospel or any other subject.
It comes down to making idols out of worldly things and giving them preeminence in my life rather than the Word of God. The Bible is to be my guide in daily living. It shows me how to learn, live, and love as a Christian. While I was good at pointing out the idolatry in others, the plank in my eye made it hard to see my own idolatrous ways.
I am learning to no longer rely on my own wisdom but to trust only in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the wise Counselor and His word is truth. Whatever I face in life, I can always turn to Jesus and reject my worldly ways:
“I have hated those who regard useless idols; but I trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 31:6)
There are going to be disagreements in life; it is a part of life. However, my great challenge is in being accepting of those who may not agree with my tactics and teachings because the Bible teaches that we are to be united and not uniformed. Now that is a difficult concept to grasp for a disciplined military man. Uniformity is what I was taught from day one. Nevertheless, as a leader I know that the best leadership is one of showing the way and having others follow. Unity of effort is a principle of war and its purpose is to coordinate the efforts of people and units to work towards the same goal.
The same goal for Christians must be sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. The challenge is in how the diverse opinions among the brethren can be unified and pointed towards furthering God’s Kingdom. Of course, we must reject blasphemy, false teaching, and heresy, but let us be careful not to strike out at a weaker brother because what they believe may not be spiritually mature enough for us. That is what Paul meant when he advises Christians not to be stumbling blocks:
“Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13)
Paul is teaching us to allow a brother to exercise his faith and in doing so, he or she will grow in their faith as the Lord prunes them day-by-day. The pruning in my life needs to be my daily focus, not whether the Lord is pruning a brother or sister in the manner I deem best. Again, I will be held accountable for this and my focus needs to be on me. Commenting on the law of liberty found in Romans 14, John Phillips writes:
“Paul solemnly reminds us that criticizing another brother will be called into account at the judgment seat of Christ. It is presumptuous for us to criticize others. If we turn the searchlight within our own hearts, we will find plenty to keep us humble before the Lord without being occupied with other people. We shall have enough to do at the judgment seat of Christ answering for our own behavior without worrying about the actions of our brethren who, for all we can can judge motives, were conscientiously following the Lord.”
Please remember that liberty does not mean license. If the Lord moves you to a position where you are to stand in the gap against the wiles of the devil and for the truth of the gospel, let us all be found obedient. The trick is in knowing whether it is the Lord moving me or just my own impulses.
Remembering that I will be held accountable for all my actions is the best way I know to clear up any confusion.
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Copyright © 2014 David Jeffers