Out of the Gray

[4 min read]

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a ‘non-photography’ post, but I just had to share something that became more clearly organized for me lately. It goes with the concepts between right and wrong, moral and immoral, and how we make decisions in those areas we consider “gray”.

I’ve always held fast to the mindset of intent over act (in most cases). For many things, it’s not simply an act that is sinful or wrong, but rather the reason or result of the act. And many people have a hard time differentiating the two.
A simple example that I bring up a lot is that of drinking. It is not a sin to drink alcohol. BUT, the issue is in getting drunk. The issue is drinking alcohol where you lose sense of your character, where it causes you to damage your body, or can hurt relationships. I don’t see there being a problem with someone having a drink, but to hear of all the issues that arise- it’s just not worth it.
In addition, because it’s such a hot topic and many people can view ‘drinking’ as a sin, there is no way I’d drink in front of these people. Whether I believe its OK or not, that’s moot point. for someone to see me do it will cause them to stumble in their walk, possibly even questioning my relationship with Christ based on their standards of living. And that mindset would leave them jaded to me whenever I speak.
In recent days this concept/idea kept popping up, and just yesterday I was listening to a sermon that broke down all the verses and themes I base my decisions on so clearly and concisely. I think the following 4 questions are so important for everyone to ask when dealing with these situations:

[1] Does it build me up spiritually? {1Corinthians10:23}
Why would we want to do things that don’t? If our sole purpose is to live for Christ, and we wouldn’t want to do anything outside of giving Him all glory and worship, then why would we consider things that are contrary?

[2] Does it bring me under it’s power? {1Corinthians6:12}
The only power I want to be brought under is that of God’s. Freedom is not being able to do whatever you want to. You are not “free” by smoking and drinking, if you can’t go a day without it. You are now addicted and under it’s bonds. Recognize what true freedom is.

[3] Do I have an uneasy conscious about it? {Romans14:23}
Obviously, if you don’t feel right about doing it, something isn’t right. If you aren’t completely content and feel justified before God in your own mind, then your acts are purely out of rebellion. You are telling yourself it’s not right (whether you know the reason why), and then continue to act.

[4] Can it cause someone else to be stumbled in faith? {Romans14:15}
As brothers and sisters, our desire should be to build others up, strengthen the community, and push others to love and chase God more. If your acts slows down someone else’s spiritual walk, is it really worth it? We need to learn to die to our own desires so that others can grow stronger in their faith.

If we apply those questions to everything we do, we’d truly be living a life of joy and a life of freedom. It’s not the easiest thing. It’s not easy to say, “Self, I’m going to delay present gratification for future glory”. And I haven’t experienced it yet, but I know that the ‘future glory’ is going to be far greater. Strive for perfection…live purposefully.