October 20, 2021
How do I decide about things that seem to be in biblically gray areas? Things that are not explicitly spelled out in Scripture?
As always, God has a plan. Most importantly is the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit. That internal sense of "oughtness." The Word of God, Spirit of God, and people of God (godly counsel) are the premier means of discovering God's will.
But Paul gives us some other criteria for what God desires that covers every area inclusively. It's found in 1 Corinthians 10:23-33 as he instructs believers about whether or not they should eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols. Paul says that it is not inherently sinful, but higher laws weigh on that decision.
Here are six guiding principles.
1. Always choose what is profitable, not just lawful.
All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. (vs. 23)
2. Always choose what edifies (builds others up).
All things are lawful, but not all things edify. (vs. 23)
3. Always choose what is best for others, not just yourself.
But if anyone says to you, "This is meat sacrificed to idols," do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience' sake (vs. 28)
4. Always choose that which does not harm a weaker brother's conscience, causing him to stumble.
5. Always choose what glorifies God.
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (vs. 31)
6. Always choose what helps other men be saved.
I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved. (vs. 33)
Jesus didn't hesitate when He was asked what the greatest commandment was: We are to love God and love others fully. The foundation of spiritual living is to do that which glorifies God and helps others. This should direct every decision we make.
Father, give me the grace to go beyond. To love You and love others—even in grey areas—so I think more of others than myself. Help me experience the "freedom of self-forgetfulness," as Tim Keller says. At the end of every decision, may You be glorified and others helped.
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