Friday, November 11, 2011

Making selfless Godly decisions

1 Corinthians 10:23  All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.

In this series we have been exploring important foundations for making Godly decisions.  Thus far we have gleaned the following scriptural principles:

1. Choose based upon what builds up or promotes Christian harmony (Romans 14:19)

2. Choose based upon what will yield the greatest benefit for the glory of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:12a)

3. Choose based upon what will yield to Christ's control, rather than to the control (or mastery) of another person or thing

Today we will look at one last principle: Choose based upon what will spiritually build-up others

Christianity must be self-less if it is going to succeed
Jesus tells us in John 13:35 that the world will know we are His disciples by our love for one another.  Putting one another ahead of our own self-interests must be evident if we are going to name the name of Christ.  But there is more.  To say that I am putting others ahead of myself is not enough.  Many non-Christians advocate such an idea.  However this idea must be aimed at a particular purpose.  Only Christianity fulfills this important principle of selflessness by suggesting that the aim is not focusing back upon the person who did the act, but rather pointing to one's love for Christ as the reason.

The difference between "hero-ism" and Christianity
Who doesn't like heroes?  We are living in a day and age where people aim to escape through the idea of heroes.  Heroism is based in the realm of ancient Greece.  The Greeks had four cardinal ideals that they used to mark a hero: courage, self-control, virtue and moral purity.  The Greek culture developed dramas to depict various characters playing out these roles.  Once Greece was conquered by Rome, Rome adapted these ideas to their culture.  Once Rome collapsed, in its wake Europe took up much of these same ideas.  As we are inheritors of this long-standing cultural heritage (more or less), we today still talk about heroes - as seen in movies and books and comic books.  Now heroism is not a bad idea; however it does not adequately describe the selflessness outlined in the Bible.

The scriptures give us three other concepts that distinguish self-less Christianity from mere "heroism" - namely "faith, hope and love".  1 Corinthians 13 and other New Testament scriptures bring out these three important elements that are essential to a self-less Christianity.  Heroism does not go far enough since despite the noble efforts of the hero, the applause goes to man.  Whenever we consider "faith, hope and love", these uniquely Christian traits reveal that selflessness is a "means", with the "praise of Jesus Christ" being the end. 

Base your decision making upon what will increase "faith, hope and love" in others
In order for Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 10:23 to be accomplished, we must edify or build up others in these three spiritual virtues.  Whenever I put others ahead of myself in this way, I am evidencing Godly decision making.  Truly the way I know I have made the right decision is when Jesus Christ's presence is seen more clearly by others. 

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