Our world’s view of tolerance and acceptance has started to erode the churches moral standards and beliefs. Many Christians are leaning towards a relativistic view of morality instead of holding fast to the Word of Truth. Many claim that freedom in Christ allows them to make choices to live in a way that Christianity has traditionally held to be immoral and sinful. This self-centered freedom is no freedom at all. It is bondage to the flesh and fleshly desires. It is a lack of discipline. It is sin against a Holy God. Also, it is a sin against the people that we are called to love.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). Our selfishness in demanding freedom is a far cry from stirring up love and encouraging good works in one another. When we choose to live as slaves to sin, it is harmful to those around us. Paul shared this with the Corinthian church. “And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ” (1 Corinthians 8:11-12). Paul was addressing believers who were selfishly standing in their freedom without concern for how it affected weaker believers. Do we do that? It seems to be a predominant theme in American Christianity today, and it is wrong.
We must humble ourselves and care for others. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). Looking to the interests of others means that we will avoid sin. We will not succumb to temptation because we are to be an example. We will withstand the attacks of the enemy because we do not want to harm others by dragging them into sin with us. We will practice self-control so we do not wound the conscience of weaker believers. We will practice what is good and right because we love others and want them to have an example that encourages them to live in freedom with Jesus.
Again, we are called to love one another. When we choose to follow our desires and succumb to the flesh, we always affect those around us. To continue in a path of sin, is a most unloving act. Our friends and family are harmed. Our churches are weakened. The people we sin with are driven farther from God. And we fail to declare the glory and honor and power of the Almighty. Loving others requires us to choose real freedom, freedom from sin, not freedom to sin.
Lord, let me live a free life, a life free from sin. Teach me self-control. Let me control emotions and desires so they do not control me. Give me strength to live this life of freedom ina a way that encourages others to be free also. If I truly love others, I will live as sinlessly as possible so I can be a blessing to them. Let me be an example and support to those who are weak. Help me to make decisions wisely, realizing that they affect others. I live in a community, and my behavior affects that community. Only in you and the power of the Spirit will I have the strength to love those around me in truth. Fill me with that power today and every day. Amen