Romans 14:13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.
Yesterday we began exploring how you can use the Bible in making decisions on those areas that are termed "gray areas". We outlined two approaches: both of which are valid. The first involves specific commands that address specific areas. The second can be used in dealing with areas where making a choice may not be so obvious - what we called "principles". The first principle - or absolute - was termed "The Lordship Principle". When using Christ's Lordship in our decision making, we are asking: "Will this decision enable me to live consistently in obedience to Jesus Christ".
Today we want to look at another principle that can aid you and I in making decisions in areas that are either debateable or "gray":
Principle #2 : Loving my brother principle
Romans 14:13 mentions not causing a fellow believer in Jesus Christ to stumble. What is meant by that phrase? To cause someone to "stumble" or "to bring offense" is not referring to hurting someone's feelings. Instead, to "cause someone to stumble" is when by my example a fellow Christian is convinced to do something they believe is morally or spiritually wrong. (please compare 1 Corinthians 8:13)
Just because I can do it, doesn't mean I should. If my potential course of action could cause someone to question my Christian testimony - I should abandon that course. As Romans 14:7 reminds us - "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace
and joy in the Holy Spirit."
Why this principle and the Lordship principle are vitally connected in our decision making
In the course of our ethical, financial, vocational, relationship, marital or whatever decisions, this principle ranks a close second to the first principle we outlined yesterday (The Lordship principle - will making this decision enable me to live obediently for Jesus Christ). Jesus states in Matthew 22:37-39 the two greatest commandments: Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor. What these two principles do is expand upon those two "Great Commands" of Jesus.
In short, whenever I am applying biblical principles such as these to supposed "gray areas", if any decision would cause me to stray away from either living obediently for Jesus Christ or expressing unselfish love, I shouldn't do it. Positively stated - only those decisions which enable me to live optimally for Jesus Christ and put others ahead of myself consititutes the essence of Godly decision making.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012
The two greatest principles for Godly decision-making
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