Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Personal Convictions

I was recently reminded of some of my favorite scriptures by a visit to Such Treasures in a post regarding, of all things, Harry Potter. Wardeh wrote a very good post regarding personal convictions vs. Biblical mandates, using this as the scripture to back up her views. I am in total agreement with her assessment, being careful to remember that this was written to Christians who will feel the convictions and leadings of the Holy Spirit. A non-Christian could easily use these passages to justify wrong behavior.

Romans 14
And receive him who is weak in the faith, but not to judgments of your thoughts.
For indeed one believes to eat all things; but being weak, another eats vegetables.
Do not let him who eats despise him who does not eat; and do not let him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has received him.
Who are you that judges another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. But he will stand, for God is able to make him stand.
One indeed esteems a day above another day; and another esteems every day alike. Let each one be fully assured in his own mind.
He who regards the day regards it to the Lord; and he not regarding the day, does not regard it to the Lord. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, does not eat to the Lord, and gives God thanks.
For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
For both if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore both if we live, and if we die, we are the Lord's.
For this Christ both died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living.
But why do you judge your brother? Or also why do you despise your brother? For all shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God."
So then each one of us will give account concerning himself to God.
Then let us not judge one another any more, but rather judge this, not to put a stumbling-block or an offense toward his brother.
I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing by itself is common; except to him who esteems anything to be common, it is common.
But if your brother is grieved with your food, you no longer walk according to love. Do not with your food destroy him for whom Christ died.
Then do not let your good be spoken evil of,
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
For he who serves Christ in these things is well-pleasing to God, and approved by men.
So then let us pursue the things of peace, and the things for building up one another.
Do not undo the work of God for food. Truly, all things indeed are clean, but it is bad to the man eating because of a stumbling-block.
It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything by which your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak.
Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Blessed is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
But, the one doubting, if he eats, he has been condemned, because it is not of faith; and all that is not of faith is sin.

My husband had a conversation with our pastor (when we first began attending our current church) regarding the wrong practice of making requirements of church members that God did not make, particularly as it pertains to the accepted manner of dress for the women (long skirts). Scott, having been friends with this pastor for a few years, said to him, "Hey, watch it... my wife has taken to wearing long skirts and head-coverings." The pastor pointed out the huge difference in a church saying "you MUST" versus personal conviction of the Holy Spirit saying "YOU must". I was actually quite grateful (as the only woman with a head-covering at that time) when the pastor devoted a sermon to not judging your brothers in Christ for their personal convictions from God, based on the text of Romans 14.

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