I’m so glad I’ve gotten smarter over the years. When we were first married, Sandie and I lived in a renovated garage. I wanted to build a room divider so there would be a separation between the kitchen/dining area and the bedroom/living area. The Saturday I set aside for the task was gorgeous, weather-wise. I brought the materials home and made a decision -- since I was going to paint it (and didn’t want to mess up the floor) and since it was such a beautiful day, I would build it outside. Some of you are already cringing. Yes, you are right. When it was finished, it was too bulky to get through the door! As some of my little friends might say… “Derrrr!”
In the formative years of the church, there were many questions asked about the nature of discipleship. Hearts were turning to Jesus, and devotion was sincere. And so, the queries began, “Is there anything about my life that would hinder my walk with Christ?” “Is there anything in my life that makes me ‘too bulky’ to ‘get through the door’ of faithful followship?”
Marital status was one of those topics of inquiry. “Is it standard practice, even required, that a Christian be married?” “Is it OK to be single and a Christian?” “What if I surrender to the Lord, but my spouse doesn’t? Should I separate from him?” “If my spouse abandons me as a result of my new faith, where does that leave me?”
As we all come to realize, theological decisions have practical implications. Pastors deal with this all the time as church members come for wise counsel on issues of faith and practice. Paul does a good job of putting forth his opinions while making clear that’s what they are. He writes, “This is what the Lord says,” and “This is what I say.” If you have the opportunity to offer advice, pray for the discernment to keep the lines clear between doctrine and opinion.
, marriage, ritual circumcision and social status were all issues of concern. Paul put forth a principle that covers all these topics and more. He says that no cultural condition is a hindrance to following Christ. Christians can be married, single, live with an unbelieving spouse, be circumcised, be uncircumcised, be free, be a slave. As long as we are obedient to the One who bought us with His blood, these cultural conditions are no hindrances. Corinth
Pray: Lord, in my role as a leader, help me not to put unnecessary requirements upon the disciples I lead. Help me not to put forth my opinions as doctrine. Help me not to water down your doctrine with my opinions. You have called each one of us to live life differently. Help me not to judge, but to appreciate the disciple who is different than I am.