What can you do to reach your highest purposes?
"In a wealthy home there are dishes made of gold and silver as well as some made from wood and clay. The expensive dishes are used for guests, and the cheap ones are used in the kitchen or to put garbage in. If you stay away from sin, you will be like one of these dishes made of purest gold-the very best in the house-so that Christ himself can use you for his highest purposes." 2 Timothy 2:20,21 LB
How do you decide what movies to watch, music to listen to, books to read, or magazines to subscribe to? What determines what you wear, eat, drink, or do beyond personal preference? How do you decide where to hang out and who to hang out with?
Jesus Christ wants you to achieve the highest purposes in life. He wants you to experience gold-standard living. This is what Paul was saying when he wrote to Timothy. [see above Scripture] The goal is to stay away from sin. The problem is how to decide what is sin.
We no longer live in a 2-column world, we live in a 3-column world. Activities used to be either right or wrong, good or bad. People knew the difference between the truth and a lie, love and lust, pure and impure, just and unjust, honorable and dishonorable, “Thou shalt” and “Thou shalt not.”
In the 21st century, things have become blurry and fuzzy. Nowadays there is a third option which many people prefer. It is called the gray area of living. People put many things in this column because they argue things can go one way or another. Have you heard someone say, “Maybe it’s right or maybe it’s wrong…perhaps it’s good or bad…maybe it’s both.” Don’t forget there are some cultures that believe certain things are wrong where other cultures would disagree. All of this presents a dilemma when determining boundaries for our Christian lives.
What are the values that direct your life? How do you decide if the gray area is sin or not sin? What guides you to participate or abstain? I am not going to give you a long list of things that are right or wrong. What I have learned from God’s Word is to ask myself 7 questions which help me to experience gold-standard living. These 7 questions provide for me a worldwide Christian values guide, useful anywhere or time. I ask myself the following:
- Is there a direct command from God’s Word on the matter? Make the Bible your highest form of authority. The Bible says, “You make known to me the path of life…” [Psalm 16:11], “Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” [Psalm 119:105] “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” [Romans 15:4]
- Does this activity build up my spiritual life? The Bible says, “I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”– but not everything is constructive.” [1 Corinthians 10:23] Only do things that edify you. Decide if this activity will make you a stronger believer? Remember that an activity may be permissible but not beneficial. It may be legal but not moral or helpful.
- Does this activity seek my own good or the good of others? The Bible says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” [Philippians 2:3,4] Don’t ask, “What is best for me?” Instead ask, “What is best for them?”
- Is this a cause of stumbling for others? The Bible says, “Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God.” [1 Corinthians 10:32] Out of love, refrain from doing anything that would cause a person from personally knowing God. “…Don’t be callous in your exercise of freedom, thoughtlessly stepping on the toes of those who aren’t as free as you are.” [Message] Be a steppingstone not a stumbling block. The Bible clearly instructs,“Be careful, however that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” [1 Corinthians 8:9]
- Can I be thankful to God for this opportunity? The Bible says, “If I eat what is served to me, grateful to God for what is on the table, how can I worry about what someone will say? I thanked God for it and He blessed it!” [1 Corinthians 10:30 Message] A clear conscience is a very valuable asset.
- Does this glorify God? The Bible says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” [1 Corinthians 10:31] Sharing the Good News of the Gospel is life’s greatest privilege and never to be hindered. “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak, I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all of this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” [1 Corinthians 9:22,23]
- WWJD? What Would Jesus Do? The Bible says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” [1 Corinthians 11:1] “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” [1 John 2:6] You never lose but always win when you live a WWJD lifestyle.
SOMETHING TO DO
Ask yourself these 7 questions to understand what is right and wrong. They will assist you in deciding “Should I, or shouldn’t I?” Teach them to your children and friends.
Print off the following page. Distribute them to family and friends suggesting that they carry the CHRISTIAN VALUES GUIDE in their wallets. I have carried mine in my wallet for years.
SOUL TIME PRAYER
Heavenly Father, thank you for the Bible, your Word. And thank you that I no longer have to be in the dark about what is right or wrong. And thank you for not giving me a long list of dos and don’ts. And thank you for directing me to achieve my highest purposes. AMEN!