Saturday, November 24, 2007

Addendum To The Truth In Labeling

It has occurred to me that there are times when we don’t hide our character issues but rather we choose to give up our rights in order to effectively minister to others. This deals with the weaker brother issue.

When the human writer Paul spoke to this issue he wanted us to be willing to give up our rights for the sake of those we seek to serve. The one exception was when this issue was a doctrinal one. For example, Paul continued to eat with Gentiles believers even when Jewish Christians complained that the Old Covenant indicated that devote Jews were not to have dealings with Gentiles. You see the New Covenant’s teaching was clear that God had broken down the walls separating Jews & Gentiles; Bond & Free; Male or Female. Those who were devoted followers of Christ became New Creations. As such they had a whole new set of relations and responsibilities.

In the past I have from time to time refrained from certain practices in some people’s presence because I did not wish to offend them. But I did not chaff at this choice, nor did I complain that my rights had been violated. I choose to willingly give up something that in reality was not nearly as important as my ability to effectively minister to the flock.

When live by my convictions, I did not hide them nor ignore them. Rather I taught what I had learned from Scripture. Praying that God would give my flock maturity to accept a teaching that was from the Lord but not from their tradition.

That’s the biggest problem with living by Grace. It is so much easier when all I had to do was live by a set of rules that man had made (often good men with the best of intentions). When faced with living in the grace that our Lord has given us, sometimes I find it harder to always know what is right. I find that I am “forced” again and again to seek the Lord’s leading.

I have also found that sometimes and in certain seasons the Spirit chooses to deal with my life in different ways than in my neighbor’s life. We must not expect that the path our Comforter decides to lead us down to be identical to others paths. Often paths diverge only to converge again down the road. Due to our own individuality we are often taught different things at different times. But the goal is always the same to be conformed to the Son’s image.

Here’s looking at Him

Dr. Val

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