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Thursday, December 30, 2010 | Comments (7)

Did you know 90% of the choices you make as a Christian involve areas where Scripture says surprisingly little? What you wear, where you go, how you spend your free time—you won’t find many explicit instructions in the Bible. But you can find plenty of rules and strictures in the various spheres of evangelicalism, many of them unhelpful and even harmful (and not only in the fundamentalist camp).

Of course Scripture forbids all clear-cut sins such as lying, cheating, stealing, murdering, or committing adultery. The Bible also clearly calls us to pursue Christ and grow in our faith. No Christian seriously questions whether he should read the Bible, pray, or tell others about Christ. Scripture is unambiguous about those things.

There is, however, one class of questions that seems to fall somewhere in the middle. These are the issues dealing with Christian freedom—things that fall between what God prohibits and what He commands. What entertainment is acceptable? What kind of music is okay? What can a Christian do or not do on Sunday? What about what you wear, what you eat and drink, or how you spend your free time—does the Bible address those things?

Some would say, "No, the Bible doesn't address those things. Those are gray areas, so do what you want to do—you're free in Christ!" While it is true that the Bible doesn't specifically list every possible decision you'll face in life, it does address all choices with principles that govern Christian freedom. When you run your choices through the following grid of principles from God's Word, you'll find both clarity and true freedom to live your life to God's glory.

Will it benefit me spiritually?

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

A "profitable" thing is useful, helpful, or to your advantage to do; and the idea behind "edify" is to build up spiritually. So based on this verse, ask yourself, "Will doing this enhance my spiritual life? Will it cultivate godliness? Will it build me up spiritually?" If not, you should seriously question whether that behavior is the best choice.

Will it bring bondage?

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12).

In the second part of this verse, Paul is saying, "I will not be brought under the power of anything." If what you are considering can be habit-forming, why pursue it? Don't allow yourself to be in bondage to anything or anyone. You are a bond-servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, and Him alone.

Will it defile God's temple?

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Don't do anything that you know will harm your body or bring shame—it is the only instrument you have to glorify God. Romans 6:13 says, "Present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." How you choose to use your body should always reflect your concern to honor Jesus Christ.

Will it cause anyone to stumble?

Food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. But take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak (1 Corinthians 8:8-9).

This is the principle of love. As Romans 13:10 says: "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law." If you know that your choice—what you consider "in bounds" and approved—causes another Christian to stumble and sin, love that brother or sister enough to restrict your own freedom. That is not very popular in our self-absorbed society, but it is biblical. To continue to indulge in a legitimate freedom that causes problems for another Christian is a sin. For "by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore," Paul said, "if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, that I might not cause my brother to stumble" (1 Corinthians 8:12-13).

Will it further the cause of evangelism?

Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved (1 Corinthians 10:32-33).

Whether you are aware of it, what you allow or disallow in your behavior affects your witness for Christ, and the world is watching. It's an issue of testimony—what your life says about God. Your testimony either tells the truth about God, or it tells a lie. The choices you make in areas where Scripture speaks principally rather than specifically should reflect your concern not to bring offense to God's reputation but to bring Him praise instead.

Will it violate my conscience?

He who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

First Corinthians 10:25-29 contains three references to abstaining from a certain practice "for conscience sake." Never train yourself to violate your conscience. If your conscience is troubled by what you consider, don't do it. If you aren't sure about it, don't do it. It is hard to overstate the value of a clean conscience, but it is worth keeping your conscience clear so that your relationship to God will not be hindered. If you'll keep yourself in prayer and the study of God's Word, you will inform your conscience so you can "walk as children of light . . . finding out what is acceptable to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:8, 10).

Will it bring glory to God?

Therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

That verse is clearly both the summary and the goal of all the principles listed above. Isn't our heart's cry to glorify our Lord and Savior with our lives? Think about your decision—Will He be glorified, honored, and praised through it? May we say along with Jesus, "I glorified You on the earth" (John 17:4).

So the next time you face a decision where Scripture is less than specific or overt, run it through the principles above and enjoy your freedom in Christ. Happy New Year from Grace to You!


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#1  Posted by Lou Perez  |  Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 5:06 AM

Great devotion. Thanks so much for your ministry and commitment to serving and descipling us with God's truth.
#2  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 2:09 PM

I went to the store today. I saw a young man outside of it. He may

be homeless. He was wearing 60's clothing, long hair, smoking pot and had a cat. He had a box with a New Age wording. On his shirt was a name Hippie. I thought it was a act but it wasn't. He was trying to get people to donate to New Age. I walk by and felt he was a lost soul.

What do we choose? God or the world. Receive Jesus as Savior and live for God from this moment to the rest of our life. One must keep growing to learn the scriptures, pray more, etc.

#3  Posted by Charles Shanks  |  Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 8:59 PM

What do you do when everthing seems weakened? Church is like landing on normandy to get their even tho I love it? I love and cherish Gods word and it is so difficult to get into it!

#4  Posted by Curtis Swank  |  Friday, December 31, 2010 at 5:02 AM

"I walk by and felt he was a lost soul." Dear Dan after reading your blogg it saddened me of your response to a "lost soul". i guess it hits home with me, you see I too was a hippie, smoking pot and doing more drugs for eighteens years. My life was drugs and alcohol. I don't want to judge. You don't say that you stoped and talked to this hippie but it appears you kept on walking? This blogg brings to mind the story told by Jesus about the good samaritan. those that passed by and one that stoped to help. Luke 10:30-37. When I said "this its home" I too had many people walk by me not speaking. Long haired hippie my apperance probably frieghtened them, the stench of smoke and alcohol would cause anyone to walk the other way. There were those who tried to convert me to thier form of doctrine but to no avail. Then one day God had enough of my sin He sent His Son's Spirit to resue me from my darkness and inprisonment. My shame, pride, lust, greed,and filth of the worlds pleasures. His light and life entered into my soul. I became a new creature in Christ Jesus. By grace I have saved! I began to go back onto the streets where I lived to tell my fellow lost hippies they needed Jesus. I started going to church and now twenty two years later I guess I'm like you to I to walk by my fellow hippies and say nothing. It does appear that my mentioning church had something to do with my appathetic lethargic mentallity towards my fellow man and it might. We can become so comfortable in "our" church, pew, or class that we forget what really is on the outside of those holly doors. In closing I will say that I'm thankfull for your blog because it has open my eyes again to the truth that I need to stop and speak or help my fellow man even if that person reeks of drugs and alcohol or the most expensive perfume. Lost is lost hell is hell and there be many that are going. Let me this new year begin again to rescue the perishing by God's grace go I.

Finally Dan at the end of the story about the good Samaritan Jesus asked this simple question.Verse 36 "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?" Verse 37 And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same." I plan on it how about you Dan?

#5  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, December 31, 2010 at 7:01 AM


Sorry, I didn't mean to offend you. Wanted to but I wasn't prepared

and I felt bad that I didn't do it. I think some christians get caught

up with pleasures of the world and not do what Jesus wants us to do.

Thanks for sharing your post. I don't have a problem with people with

what they wear or how they look. I look in the heart. I didn't hear God say go to that man. But, you are right, I should have a tract in hand, so I can put it in the box.

Thanks for straighten me up. I appreciate it. I will try harder to be

bold give out tracts and speak to people about Jesus, even I am hearing impaired. It's that I read lips. It hard when one speaks and

it's garble at times. If one has a beard and I can't read their lips.

When I ask one to write it down, some make a fuss and sometimes refuse to do so. That is annoying and hard.

#7  Posted by Curtis Swank  |  Friday, December 31, 2010 at 7:55 PM


I wasn't offended. I said I was saddened. Big differance! As far as not being prepared I believe you are if you are walking in the spirit and not in the flesh. I find many verses in 2 Timothy that would help your dilemna. 2 Timothy, 1:8,9, 2:1, 2:7, 4:2. As far as needing a tract in your hand how about the word of God in your heart. Psalm 119:11, Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. 2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accuratley handling the word of truth. Trying harder isn't the answer either allow Gods grace and mercy to work through you and to you. By grace you are saved not by works (yours) but by His. I too have a tendancy to perform. How high do you set the hurdle usually to high just high enough to fail. Speak truth in love and walk by faith you'll be amazed at how the Holy Spirit will work through us when we yield to His power and strength and not our own for when we are weak He will be strong. I pray and hope that tomorrow you will find a hippie and share the love of Christ just by faith, and love that sinner into the kingdom of light. "Lord lay some soul upon my heart and love that soul through me that I may humbly do my part to win that soul for thee." Happy New Year Dan. I love ya brother Judges 6:12


#10  Posted by Robert Gilmore  |  Friday, January 7, 2011 at 2:03 AM

I want thank you Pastor MacArthur and your ministry immensely for the timely, no nonsense, and dead bang devotional on "Decision Making To The Glory Of God". This article had the effect of God performing laser surgery on the tumors of sin that needed to be removed from my life. As scripture states, the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts the sinner and leads one to Christ. This devotional also had the added effect of compelling me to take inventory of my Christian maturation. I found that I needed growth in key areas such as "time", "talent", and "treasure". The three aforementioned items I desire to bring in conformity to our awesome Lord and his eternal work. At the same time it revealed what true liberty and the abundant life entails -living freely to glorify our Holy God! It is my sincere prayer for this minstry, and the church at large that these principles are given serious thought and application for the edification of the church, a stronger testimony to the world, and most important greater glory be given to our great and awesome Lord Jesus Christ!