There are some inviolable truths in the scriptures, those that are the same for every person. Then there are those things the Holy Spirit calls us to do – things to avoid, things to say, things to not say, places to go, places to not go.
Reading the Book and seeing what God thinks about lying, murder, greed, gluttony, envy, gossip, and back-biting is pretty cut-and-dried. That’s always, for everyone, a hard no.
Other things aren’t so clear. Like, I’ve never had a nudge from the Holy Spirit about going into a bar. Is that because I spent so much time in them as a child or because God says I can be a light by being there and chatting with others with a coherent, unaffected mind? I don’t know that answer, but it’s a place I can go into and feel just fine, and while there am keenly aware to be intentional about my faithwalk.
If God were telling me that going into a bar was wrong, that I should never do it and I did walk in… that would be sin for me. I would know the right thing – don’t go in – yet I would be going against that. Ergo, sin for me.
Many believers have felt conviction – whether by God or their church leaders (be careful which you follow) – to avoid certain foods or beverages, to not talk to these people or those. If that conviction is of God, then it would be sin to do differently. However, the person in the seat next to them may not have that conviction from the Lord and for them, it is perfectly acceptable.
The trick comes in when we who have those orders to avoid choose to judge and condemn those who don’t have those same orders. God uses us fallible humans to reach other humans where they are. That means some of us have to go to the places where they are while others have to be in places where they will come.
James is very blunt in his assessment. If you know the right thing and choose to not do it, that’s sin on your part. Not your neighbor, not your spouse, not your child, not your pastor, not your parents. You.
Paul wrote similarly in Romans 14:23.
When we follow the Lord, listening to His voice for direction, we can know what we’re supposed to do, say, and where we’re to go. Then it’s up to us to obey that. When we don’t, we’ve removed Jesus from the throne and put us back on it.
Think about it today. What have you been impressed/convicted about that you need to be doing or that you need to stop doing? You have a choice. Who will you put on the throne, you or God? Obedience is how we reveal our love for Jesus, and is deemed by God to be better than sacrifice.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.