Free to Love and to ServeFrom The Heart
Publish date: 08/03/2014
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17 NKJV
For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another.
Galatians 5:13 AMP
We were called to freedom – freedom from guilt and fear and judgment and freedom from the power of sin. Jesus did not free us so we could indulge our fleshly impulses or have an excuse for selfishness. We are free to love and serve the Father with all our heart and we are free to love others and to serve them. This is our mission and this is our call.
Only be careful that this power of choice (this permission and liberty to do as you please) which is yours, does not [somehow] become a hindrance (cause of stumbling) to the weak or overscrupulous [giving them an impulse to sin]. 1 Corinthians 8:9 AMP
Do not deliberately offend others with the liberty you have in Christ.
All things are legitimate [permissible?and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life]. 24 Let no one then seek his own good and advantage and profit, but [rather] each one of the other [let him seek the welfare of his neighbor].
1 Corinthians 10:23-24 AMP
There are all kinds of things you can do - that are permissible - but which are not helpful, nor constructive. The New Covenant is NOT about us being free to do what we please; being selfish; seeking only our own good and advantage and profit - but rather it is about becoming like Jesus; being unselfish and seeking the welfare of your neighbor; putting others above yourself. Consider who is watching you and do not deliberately do anything that will cause them to stumble. You want to serve them and be considerate of them, out of love, in order to win them for Christ. The most important thing is not that our needs are fulfilled, but that others might be won for Jesus.
So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 AMP
The context of this chapter concerns food - especially food offered to idols - and the bottom line is that whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the honor and glory of God. Do not allow another man’s conscience to determine your liberty of action (Vs. 29). Your liberty is determined by the word of God, not the opinions of others. At the same time, do not let yourself be a hindrance by giving an offense to the Jews or to the Gentiles or to the church of God. Do not be a show off. That will not reach anybody.
No one knows better how a Christian should behave than a non-Christian! They are not living like they should, but they still expect you to walk and talk like the believer you say that you are. Do not do those things that you know will offend those to whom you are a witness. Adapt yourself, without violating your own conscience or transgressing God’s word, in order to win them to Jesus. Be considerate and do not lead others into sin by your mode of life (Vs. 32).
Do not join the heathen in their drunken idolatrous feasts (1Corinthians 10:21). You do not need to join the world and be like them and do what they do, in order to win them. You do not win them by being one of them – you win them by walking in the fruit of the spirit. At the same time, you also cannot get so hung up on what they do and let that offend you and keep you away and stop you from being a witness and an example. Sinners sin, because they are sinners. Someone needs to be there to preach the Good News to them. If you are judgmental, it will be difficult to witness, but if you see people as valuable and precious, like the Father does, you will look past their faults and see their needs.
I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. 22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin. Romans 14:14-23 NKJV
Whatever is not of faith is sin. People need to do what their conscience allows them to do. You cannot and you should not force them to do otherwise. You cannot try to change their behavior from the outside in, but you have to change them from the inside out, by the word and spirit of God. Do not make a big deal out of things, which have no relevance when it comes to salvation. You cannot expect people to know instantly what you know; you have to be patient with them and take time to teach them. Pursue the things, which make for peace and the things by which you may edify another
The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.