Someone recently gave me a suggestion to write about the different convictions we all have. Some people think we should strongly live by their convictions instead of our own. While I am definitely not opposed to the convictions of others being something I can adopt or learn from, I am opposed to judging someone harshly for not accepting my convictions. (I am not opposed to judging thought systems which is different then judging people, though some people cannot separate the two.)
What is right for you may not be right for me. This is the reality of individual relationship. This truth is built on a foundation of Scripture that reveals we all learn and grow, “line upon line” and “precept upon precept.” Since all of us are at different “lines” in our life with our own unique personalities and experiences, we would do well to honor the diversity of thought and life that was given to us by God as a gift. To limit things down to a certain way for them to work, we create formulas for disaster at worse and formulas for arrogance at best. We would do well to believe in the bigness of our God who moves in and among us in millions of different ways, literally.
Christians have had the hardest time adapting to the freedom that Christ has called us to. They still tend to hold on to religious judgments of the way things should be done or the things we should be doing or how they should look. While I am not saying we can’t be passionate about our convictions, I am saying we should check the circumstance of there use with the reality of what God may be actually doing in our life and the life of others. Yes, sometimes there is a difference. As a Proverb says, we would do well to be “slow to speak and quick to listen.” I have learned the lesser way of why this is important.
What this all comes down to is a relationship with God. How He speaks to me may be different then how He speaks to you. For example, He may tell you to not watch movies but for me I am free to watch them. In fact, if one were to judge someone for watching a movie they may actually keep someone from hearing God who had wanted to speak directly to that person from the movie. While I am not condoning people watching porno and calling it freedom, I am condoning the watching of certain movies and not being judged by someone who has no idea what God is doing in someone’s life because they refuse to listen. Besides, the enjoyment of life is part of the life God gave us to have in whatever healthy way that exists.
This reality goes for all the decisions people make. We must be quick to listen to what God is actually doing and not what we think He is doing. This takes patience and understanding. Besides, if we are trying to be responsible for someone else’s life, you better be ready to give a lot of energy trying to be someone you are not. If you don’t understand that last line, meditate on it for a while. We need to respect people’s freedom so they can be empowered from within and not be forced from the outside to be something they actually are not. The will of a person is precious to God. It is set up this way for individuality and authenticity. This is to the glory of God’s creativity.
So Jesus tells this person to do this and that person to do that. We don’t need the arm of His body telling the legs what they should do. They can ask for assistance but should not be told which way and how it should be done. Even if a leg is wounded, it is still a leg. Unity comes in it’s diversity of operations. Selah.
One of the things I am learning, is the freedom I have to voice my convictions without needing others to agree with what I say. I am also learning that the heart of God is centered on the concept of “coaching” or asking questions instead of telling people what they should and should not do. These avenues of conviction help me to see people as God see’s them and not how I judge them. These avenues allow me to respect God and others for what He might be doing in their life. These avenues allow me to be an encourager and not a teller of what one should and should not do. These avenues call me to love and honor, which are the very words tattooed boldly on my arms and heart.
We would do well to trust God and prayerfully live our lives before others. If we do not, we may trust in ourselves without Gods influence, above the reality of His bigness around us. I am not saying we should be silent, but we should be free to be ourselves by letting our lives speak of our convictions and not just our words. We do not need to tell others what they should and should not do, but we are free to voice our convictions. If someone wants to change because of what we say, it will not be because we directed it at them; it will be because God convicted them with the life that rests upon the words we live.
If something is living, it is growing towards something. If something is dying, it is dying towards something. Life and death are not only in the power of the tongue, but in the power of our lives.