One Size Fits All Solution
You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right.
I love this passage. It confirms that there are things just between God and me. Do you know why that is? It’s because we have a close and personal relationship through Jesus. And a close and private relationship means that we know what’s really going on in my heart even when others misunderstand or disagree.
Jesus came to make us free in every way. Believers have lots of options for living, loving others and serving God because we have lots of diverse personalities and experiences. Based on those things we make choices for our lives based on what is prudent for us. For example, all Believers are free to use money, watch tv, and drink beer. But since all Believers don’t have the same hang ups, God doesn’t give us all the same convictions about our freedoms. There’s nothing wrong with money except for the trap it might be for someone who trusts it more than God; that person might choose to avoid using credit cards. TV is not a sin either, but for someone who has obsessive compulsive tendencies and would just click on show after show - or someone who does not intend to guard what they watch - these Believers might choose to not own a tv; and they’d be right. Drinking a beer isn’t going to send anyone to hell, but a Believer who used to struggle with alcohol will probably be deeply convicted to avoid it altogether. But that doesn’t make the Believer who has never drank too much a sinner for consuming an alcoholic beverage. God has given us all the same convictions over issues of sin (see the 10 Commandments), but He gives each of us our own convictions regarding matters of personal preference based on our personal experiences.
Keep it between yourself and God... That means I don’t transfer my personal convictions on to other people. And I certainly don’t want theirs!
Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right... That means I am happy about the way I live. I get my joy from my close and personal relationship with Jesus who has tailored my convictions to suit my life. That’s how I get my joy. My joy is not dependant upon other people approving of me or not.
But some Christians don’t think about these things. There joy does seem dependant upon the agreement and endorsement of everyone else. And that’s a shame because they are missing the close, personal catering Jesus supplies to each one of us individually. For example, we have no idea what Euodia and Syntyche were arguing about. Obviously matters of personal preference and not sin issues or Paul would have judged the sin. But instead he tells them, Be of the same mind in the Lord. (See Philippians 4:2) That means that Believers, while diverse in personal experiences and personal convictions, have ONE thing that is in common across the board. We love Jesus. So how do I live under my convictions when it seems to interfere with someone else’s personal preference? Thankfully, Ephesians 4:15 gives us great advice...
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
Speak the truth in love. And the truth might simply be this: I disagree. We do not see eye to eye on this situation, but I love Jesus, and you love Jesus, and I love you. Then hug. If both parties would do this they would experience what my friend, Deborah, calls a joy bubble.
Because this is what happens: God is able to decide the matter. When two Believers let the resolution to a personal conflict be just an I love you and a hug, God does the heart changing in BOTH hearts. Sometimes it has been in my heart and whatever was so important to me previously just doesn’t matter anymore Sometimes it’s the other way around, and the other person softens. And sometimes there is no resolution BUT frustration and contention somehow gets replaced with peace and contentment. Only God can do that. My many words in an attempt make someone see my point of view can’t accomplish these same results.
The only thing I am required to have in common with another Believer is LOVE for Jesus. When we agree on that, it allows for God Himself to work everything else out.
1 John 2:9-10
If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble.
Love. Hug. Let God sort it out in the hearts of individuals with whom he has a close and personal relationship. His love is the “one-size-fits-all” solution to our variety of preferences.
First of all, I am so thankful that my joy is not dependant upon people understanding me. Secondly, thank you for your love that is so big that it can squash disputes. I thank you for replacing disappointment and disagreements with joy bubbles. I have learned this from personal experience and you are so faithful to never let me down, and I am so thankful. Thank you that my convictions are mine and mine alone, and THANK YOU for not burdening me with someone else’s convictions. And thank you that when personal preferences do conflict - our LOVE for Jesus and his LOVE for us is always the solution! I love you and thank you and pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.