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Monday, February 23, 2015

Little Decisions Based on Biblical Principles (Introduction Post)

As I mentioned in my About Page, since Jesus Christ is Lord of all, it follows that every area of our life, yea, every detail of our life, must bring glory to Jesus Christ. God willing, I hope to run a series of blog posts regarding the topics of purchasing, spending, doing business, and time stewardship (all based on Biblical principles). I do not know how long the posts will be but I believe it will run about three posts, not including this introduction.

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." -- 1Corinthians 10:31

"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." -- Colossians 3:17

I am not going to delve into context arguments regarding these passages. I do understand the context of 1Corinthians 10, however, the general principle of verse 31 should be unquestionable as a doctrine for all Christians: Every single thing you do ought to be done in order to bring glory to Jesus Christ. This means that we have to think. This means it will require effort. Unfortunately, American Christians do not like to either think, nor work hard.

I was listening to a program on "Christian" radio the other day, called Chris Fabry Live. It is a secular type of Christian program; what I mean by that is, the lowest common denominator wins. He is one of those guys who thinks that we should never judge and he tries to appeal to the widest audience possible, instead of challenging people to change and to take up the cross. Why does he do this? Why, because he would lose listeners (and therefore money, or even his job) if he did it any other way. But I listen to him on my drive home from work because I want to hear what mainstream Christianity is talking about; plus it gives me teaching material for my children in devotions:

Children, this is how the typical Christian thinks. But this is what the Bible actually says we should think like and do.

Well, I admit, sometimes Fabry does say things that are consistent with the Bible and perhaps he is more of a Christian than I give him credit for; so a caller called in (the subject for the show was about Christians and their movie/entertainment choices), and basically said, "Just tell me what to watch and what not to watch so I can buy/rent what you say". Fabry, uncharacteristic of him, sort of rebuked her for being lazy and not wanting to think and use her knowledge of scriptural application to discern these things for herself. It was pretty funny coming from him because he always finds something nice to say about/to everyone.

Anyhow, all that to say, when it comes to what we eat, what we buy, what activities we participate in, and in general, just flat out how we spend our money; these things, Christians do not meditate on; they do not meditate on how to apply the word of God to these areas of life. They consider them unimportant or unspiritual. Or they are too lazy.

Most Christians do not really care what decisions they take. They are of the world, therefore speak (and think) of the things of the world, and are influenced in their thinking by the world (1John 4:5,6). And I am referring here to those who call themselves Christians, not those who genuinely are disciples of Jesus Christ.

Among those who are disciples of Christ (genuinely); these are the Christians who tend to ignore the areas of Christian life which I mentioned above. They are keen regarding things like honesty, kindness, doing general good deeds, having their daily Bible reading/prayer time, etc. This would include Anabaptists, who, although take much thought (as they should) in their attire, attitude, and all manners of holiness (including separation from the world), often do not consider what they are purchasing, eating, and drinking.

And then among some (such as Kinists) they are very keen regarding doctrine and discerning the enemy. They can see through the lies of the mainstream media, the so-called Church, and so on.

But all of these Christians, whether genuine or not, they all have one thing in common; they ignore the practical areas of life that involve the little things. But little things add up to big results, especially when the LORD God of heaven and earth is involved. Many times it is indeed the little things that count the most, just as it was in the situation of Achan the son of Carmi (Joshua 7).


Digging Deeper than the Surface

Just as mentioned in a previous blog post, there is a difference between living the Christian life with the goal of not sinning a great sin, and living the Christian life to do what most pleases God at all times. The problem with the typical Christian is that he can only think and reason spiritual things on the surface level. He does not think deeply about long term consequences of small choices he makes. Because on the surface, his choice only makes a minimal, or hardly noticeable impact. We will get into the details of how this all works when we start talking about purchase decisions and health decisions, and so on. But let's look at an illustration of long term vs. short term thinking in a different area of life (that we will not be talking about in this series):

A Christian man is discouraged because he thinks that his life is almost entirely useless. He thinks this because he is not the Pastor of a church, or any kind of leader of any sort. He works a job that does not make a huge impact on the community, and has no major area of direct influence.

I am going to use a worldly analogy here of football, even though I hate professional sports. If we were to use the football analogy, think of the offensive linemen on a football team. An offensive lineman, he is not the quarterback. He does not get to throw the ball to a receiver to make a play and score points. He is not the receiver, who catches the ball and scores. He is not the running back who runs the ball to gain yards or score. He does not make an inception of a pass, or make a big tackle at the goal line to stop a score. He does not block a kick or even kick a field goal or extra point. He does none of these things. He is basically ignored and receives no credit. But the offensive line is likely the key to winning and losing. The running back cannot run through a hole if there is none created by the lineman. The quarterback cannot throw the touchdown pass nor the receiver catch it, if there is no time to throw, created by the linemen. The linemen sort of have a hidden influence or indirect influence.

There are Christians in the kingdom of God who are sort of like linemen. As Paul states in his letter to the Corinthians, "I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase" (1Corinthians 3:6). What if you did not preach the words that caused a man to repent, but you encouraged the man who preached to the man who repented? The man who preached would not even have had the confidence to preach if not for your small encouragement. I say small, because it looks small at first, but it is really not that small in the grand scheme of things.

Perhaps God has chosen you to be a hidden vessel who does not receive much praise or adoration in this life. But consider Paul's allegory of the human body in 1Corinthians 12. Those members which seem unimportant are really actually very important.

I say these things to get you to realize that your little decisions in life make a big different. You have to look deeper than the surface. You have to realize there is a reason why we are to do all things for the glory of God. All things, big or small. Everything. You have no idea how big an impact your decisions and actions can make; even if you never see the results until eternity, when God rewards you with the knowledge of how he used you in so many vital ways.

There are three major categories I want to cover in this series:

1) Purchases Based on Biblical Principles

2) Spending Wisely and Doing Business With Christian Principles

3) Time Stewardship

All of these topics have to do with the subject of stewardship. Our whole lives are issues of stewardship. And speaking of stewardship, my wife has been reading me portions of a book called To Whom Much is Given by G. Ernest Thomas, which I am beginning to be convinced that it is probably the most needed and greatest Christian book ever written. It is funny because it is virtually unknown. It is written by a man who is probably not even alive anymore, written in 1956 I believe. We found it at a Mennonite thrift shop a couple of months ago. I could not find much information at all about the author or the book. But I will be quoting from the book in this series of blog posts, because the material in it is so good.

May the Lord Jesus Christ use what is written for his glory, and direct the content that goes into the series of posts to come. Amen.


Swiss Kinist