Recently my family transferred to a new place in Quezon City. In fact, we are living along Maginhawa Street – one of the best food neighborhoods in Metro Manila, maybe even the world! With so many options, the problem we have now is deciding what to eat. While that is a relatively easy thing to decide (we eat at home most of the time) other decisions in life are not so easy, but are important.
During the process of unpacking books and papers for my home office/study, I came across a helpful article in my wife’s files. Probably written in the 1970s, it offers simple, biblical help in making decisions about the “gray” areas of life – those activities that God has not directly addressed in the Bible. I hope it will be a help to you in your life and ministry, as it has been to me.
by E. Robert Jordan (1925-2009)
Principles to follow:
1. Is it best? I Corinthians 6:12
2. Does it bind? 1 Corinthians 6:12
3. Does it build others? 1 Corinthians 10:23
4. Does it boast in God? 1 Corinthians 10:31
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT QUESTIONABLE THINGS
How often have you heard a Christian say, “Can I do this, can I go there, am I allowed to have this?”, and we soon learn as Christians that the Bible does not speak about everything EXPLICITLY, but it does give principles how to govern everything that comes into your life.
The Bible is not only written in commandments. “Thou shalt not...” Exodus 20, “Go ye therefore...” Matthew 28:19, 20, “Preach the Word...” II Timothy 4:2, and many other such commandments, the Bible is also written in very explicit principles which govern all of the questionable things that come into our life that are not explicitly governed under a commandment in the Bible.
The worldly or carnal have little or no concern at all about obeying the Lord, and even some of the explicit commandments of “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not” do not bother them, let alone the questionable things. They feel that they have a right to do what they want to do and they will do what pleases them.
Then, how does a godly, dedicated, “I want to obey God” Christian judge questionable things, whether they are right or wrong? Let me suggest at least eleven principles by which the godly Christian can judge everything that comes into his life.
ELEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR BELIEVERS TO JUDGE ALL MATTERS ON QUESTIONABLE THINGS
1. DOES IT MAKE ME LOOK, ACT, OR BE WORDLY? I John 2:15, 16
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
2. IS THERE ANY DOUBT ABOUT THE THING THAT I WANT TO DO? Romans 14:22, 23
“Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
3. AM I BASING IT JUST ON MY FEELINGS? Proverbs 14:12
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
4. IS IT ONLY BY MY CONSCIENCE? Titus 1:15
“Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”
5. DOES IT BUILD ME UP IN THE LORD AND MAKE ME A BETTER BELIEVER? I Corinthians 10:23
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”
6. COULD IT BE A STUMBLING BLOCK TO OTHER BELIEVERS? Romans 14:13
“Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.”
7. WILL IT HARM MY BODY? I Corinthians 6:19, 20
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”
8. DOES IT GLORIFY THE LORD? I Corinthians 10:31
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
9. CAN I DO IT IN HIS NAME? Colossians 3:17
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
10. HOW DOES IT APPEAR TO OTHERS? I Thessalonians 5:22
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
11. DO I WANT TO REAP THIS IN MY CHILDREN’S LIVES? Ephesians 6:4
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
If you really love the Lord, you will want in every way to be a better Christian and to please the Lord. These principles will, I believe, go a long way in answering questions for you regarding questionable things.
[Originally printed and distributed by The Calvary Baptist Press. No copyright or date given. This version contains slight editing. Dr. Jordan was a prominent 20th Century fundamentalist, founding pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, and founder of Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary (now closed), Lansdale, Pennsylvania (USA). The publication of this article does not imply a complete endorsement of those ministries.]