MondayI blogged about how we should handle it when other people exercise their liberty differently than we do. The first principle we saw as that there will be differences. We are not all going to exercise our liberty in the same way. Understanding that is the starting point.
Yesterday we saw that we needed to be confident in our own convictions.
This brings us to our principle for today.
You Are Only Accountable For Yourself or You Are Not the Holy Spirit
There are a lot of things other Christians do that I don’t like. This is especially true about other pastors and preachers. I am not a big fan of certain styles of preaching and certain methods of ministry. There was a time when I would get really wired up about these things. Then during my daily Bible reading one day I read something that changed my outlook.
“For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:4-5 (NKJV)
The context of this is in relation to preachers/pastors being faithful to do what God wants them to do. What I realized is that I won’t give an account for the ministry of any pastor/preacher but myself. And that should be enough to keep me plenty occupied.
Paul brings this idea to bear on the way we exercise our Christian liberty.
“For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: “As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” Romans 14:8-12 (NKJV)
We shouldn’t spend our time worrying about whether other Christians have the same preferences and convictions as we do. Other Christians are not accountable to us, they are accountable to God. Each and every one of us will have to stand before God and give an account of our lives. Rather than spending our time worrying about how another Christian exercises their Christian liberty, we should spend our time making sure that when we stand before the Lord we will be ready.
“Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him judge whether they are right or wrong. And with the Lord’s help, they will do what is right and will receive his approval.” Romans 14:4 (NLT)
If someone is genuinely a Christian and genuinely seeking to know what God would have them do, He will tell them. We must always remember that we are not the Holy Spirit. God will work through His Word and through His Spirit to guide all of us in the right direction. When we seek to correct others in areas of Christian liberty we are more or less acting like the Holy Spirit can’t do His job. When you stand before the judgment seat of Christ, you won’t be worried about how I exercised my Christian liberty differently than you did. When I stand before the judgment seat of Christ, I won’t be worried about how you exercised your Christian liberty differently than I did.
If you are worried about the way another Christian exercises their liberty your time would be better spent praying for them rather than playing Holy Spirit yourself. You are not accountable for how anyone but you exercises their Christian liberty.