This is the last post of my series on sin and, instead of breaking down individual sins or what we should or should not do as Christians, I feel the Lord is leading me instead to talk a bit about personal convictions.
There are some things in the Bible that God tells us specifically not to do and if we do them, we are sinning. But, if you are reading God’s Word as should be, you’ll already know what those are and some I’ve already broken down. However, there are some “grey” areas in our lives that the Bible doesn’t specifically talk about and it is those areas that I am addressing.
Disclaimer: Please remember, I am speaking to those who claim to be followers of Jesus, not to non-Christians.
God deals with each of His children in different ways and at different times. When I was in my early twenties He had to deal with several things: my selfishness, my judgemental attitude, and my lack of confidence. I was painfully shy which made it impossible for me to talk to people. God had me start dancing and it broke me out of my shy shell so that now when I tell people I used to be that way, they don’t even believe me because they say that I seem like a very social, outgoing person most of the time. That is all God! He has changed me over the years so that I can now talk to people and share His truth and love with them. I also used to be incredibly selfish, not caring at all about other people’s feelings. But now, though I still struggle sometimes and still need more growth in this area, I care a lot more about other people and try to put their needs before my own. Finally, God has really changed my attitude toward people. I don’t judge anymore but instead, leave the judgment to God. I am here to love people, correct them only when God tells me to, and keep my opinions to myself unless they are innocuous (like whether or not I like a certain movie).
Now, God has changed me a lot inside but that doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle in these areas sometimes. However, they are no longer a part of who I am and I don’t have to deal with them every single day like I used to. Now, they are just something that occasionally crops up and I have to submit them to God and get His help to continue making right choices.
Currently, God is teaching me obedience, faithfulness, and trusting Him. I have to spend time with Him every day, I can’t go by my feelings, and if I’ve committed to something I have to do it. And, most importantly, I have to keep putting my hope and trust in Him every day no matter what is going on in my life.
What does this have to do with personal convictions? Well, just because God is teaching me something doesn’t mean He is currently teaching my husband, or my parents, or my friends the same thing. God teaches us different things at different times and it isn’t up to us to tell people how to live unless God tells us to do so. Of course, there are always exceptions to this.
For example, if I saw a married friend (a follower of Jesus) having an affair, I would talk to that married friend and tell them that what he or she was doing is wrong and that it needs to stop. Why? Because the Bible clearly says that adultery is a sin. It’s not a grey area. That is one of the few exceptions I have when it comes to “judging” others and personal convictions.
However, I don’t tell people what to eat, drink, wear, watch, read, or listen to because that is between them and God. The Holy Spirit will convict us Himself if He doesn’t want us to do something and it is not our place to try to be someone else’s Holy Spirit. One exception I have for this is with your spouse. Now, you can’t change your spouse, nor can you make him or her do something or not do something, but if something your spouse does bothers you or you don’t think it’s right, you do need to tell him or her. Why? Because it is your spouse! He or she is your life partner, your best friend, and in God’s eyes, you are one. But, for anyone except your spouse, keep your opinions to yourself unless God specifically places it on your heart to speak to that person.
Why do I say this? Well, I told you that years ago I had a very judgemental attitude. I was certain of how Christians should live, what they should or should not do, and I told everyone, whether they wanted to hear it or not (and they usually didn’t want to hear it). I lost friendships because of it and I found myself not wanting to make new friends because I just thought that I was better than them since I knew what was right and wrong and clearly they didn’t. But, through a lot of experiences over the past few years, the Lord has taught me that it isn’t my place to judge others. For the most part, it is better to be silent and allow God to convict someone.
Now, the title of this post is “Living for Christ” and here is the reason why: if you want someone to live a certain way, you need to model that lifestyle yourself. Non-Christians and even other Christians will never listen to you if they see you as a hypocrite, or won’t listen to you at all because we don’t like being told what to do. The best way to influence others, and Jesus Himself did this, is to live for Christ and let your light shine. When you live obediently to Christ, others will take notice and God can use your godly living to influence and convict others in a way that He can never use your voice.
So, if you are a follower of Christ, make sure you are spending time alone with Him every day. Spend time in prayer, reading His Word, and, most importantly, listening to His voice and living the way He wants you to live. Don’t worry about other people. God will handle them. You can only control yourself and you need to focus on living a godly life. This is something that the Lord taught me several years ago but is still teaching me today and I pray that this post will help you as it has helped me for years!
I love you guys!
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