November 12, 2004

For the Sake of His Body

John 13:35
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

I've been rather sure of myself lately in what I believe. I'm becoming more and more convinced of truths that deal directly with what I read, listen to, and see in art. I've abandoned standards of tradition for a scriptural philosophy that can address every unique situation (I've found that most standards and generalizations fall flat on their faces when thrown a curve ball). But there is one conflict with developing a biblical philosophy toward life: not everyone will agree with you on your philosophy.

"But there it is, plain as day!" I've said to the doubtful I've tried to convert. "Do you see how it all fits together?"

I've known that there would have to be some solution to getting everyone to recognize the truth I'd realized. How come there couldn't be unity over this? Christ prayed in John for the unity of the church. How do I help achieve that goal? How do I glorify God in my approach toward music, literature, and art?

My first mistake was forgetting to work love into my philosophy. I assumed that the problem was with others and not myself. Love doesn't seek its own. God wrote this for me:

1 Corinthians 8

1Now concerning[1] food offered to idols: we know that "all of us possess knowledge." This "knowledge" puffs up, but love builds up. 2If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.[2]
4Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that "an idol has no real existence," and that "there is no God but one." 5For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth--as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"-- 6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
7However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating[3] in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged,[4] if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12Thus, sinning against your brothers[5] and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

I'm not supposed to indoctrinate the church with my philosophy (I'm sure you've noticed by now that I'm deliberately leaving my views vague). I'm supposed to know what I believe regarding music, literature, art, etc. I'm to be as liberal with others in their "standards" as long as it isn't worldly (fulfilling the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life). I'm to be as sensative as possible to the weaker brother and not offend him. If he wants to talk then we'll talk. That's love. Selfishness is trying to get everyone to think like me, even if that means searing their consciences. That's not seeking the kingdom.

This means a whole lot for me now. When I go home this Christmas I'm going to take my KJV to church. I'm going to listen to 90.5 Quebec Classics in the car. I'm going to read Hamlet, and what's left of the Brit Lit anthology. I know that Christian liberty lends me far more slack, but because I love my family and church and because the world knows that we're God's Children by that love I can forgo a few things for a time.

Posted by timf at November 12, 2004 12:43 PM

Thanks Tim. That's very true and Paul emphasis that in 1 Cor. 13. It's all about L.O.V.E.

Posted by: Tom at November 12, 2004 01:26 PM

It's liberating to realize how much junk can be tossed aside for the sake of others.

Posted by: Ben at November 12, 2004 01:44 PM

I take my NASB, but I dont have my name written in it for a good reason--great way to start a fight if certain people catch you with it

Timmy it is also their responsibility to read those same verses in I Cor. and treat others as we treat them--often times it is these type of folks ans we all know to whom I am referring that are militant in their beliefs when honestly I believe Satan has blinded them with a lie.

enough for now


Posted by: aaron at November 12, 2004 07:20 PM

"The aim of our instruction is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith" (1 Tim 1:5).
"If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing" (1 Cor 13:2-3).
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commands hang all the Law and the Prophets" (Matt 22:37-40).

Posted by: kevin at November 12, 2004 10:25 PM

Thanks for the reminder Tim. I think it's easier not to offend here in Greenville just b/c there are sooo many churches/Christians/sets of standards. I'll be praying for you (and Aaron) as you go back home though...I remember all too well the animosity over some of those issues but like you said, deferring to them out of love is so much more important than holding on to what you may want to do.

Again, thanks for posting this...I needed it.

Posted by: gwen at November 12, 2004 11:29 PM

I've actually been thinking along the same line. Why do we do what we do? I think that too often people just take what has been shoved down their throats and live their lives by that instead of living by the Bible. I think it's time that we went back to the Word and stopped living by tradition...

Posted by: petie at November 13, 2004 01:41 PM
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