What Is Freedom For?
Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
Romans 14:13 NKJV
Freedom is an essential aspect of Christian life, but sometimes we misunderstand its purpose. Our liberty is to be used to serve others. There is freedom in serving and bondage in slavery. A slave is one who has to serve, while a servant is one who lives to serve.
I have seen many Christians serve with a resentful attitude. They still live as slaves to a law from which they have been set free. They remain enslaved in their hearts, mistaking selfishness with liberty.
Paul gave this warning to those who had knowledge of their rights in Christ but lacked His heart to serve:
And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.
1 Corinthians 8:11–12 NKJV
The sobering truth is we can use our liberty to sin. How? By wounding those of weaker conscience, causing fellow believers to be offended and stumble.
You may wonder, But isn’t it true that we will sometimes offend others? We examined this issue last week, and the answer is yes! Even Jesus gave offense at times. But Jesus offended some people as a result of obeying the Father and serving others. His offense did not come by demanding His own rights.
Let’s make it our aim to not cause another to stumble because of our personal liberty, even if what we do is permissible according to the scriptures. We can ask ourselves, Does this seek the edification of another or of myself?
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. …Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
1 Corinthians 10:23, 32–33 NKJV, emphasis added
Do you find yourself defending your rights at others’ expense? Ask the Holy Spirit to reshape your perspective according to these scriptures. Allow Him to show you any hidden motives or agendas that seek your profit but not the wellbeing of others. Ask Him for the grace to live as a servant of all.
Written by John Bevere. Visit John’s blog at http://messengerinternational.org/blog.
Follow John Bevere on Twitter @JohnBevere