God’s Authority in Our Standards
In my last post, we saw how easy it is to question God’s authority and power in our lives, even as believers, leading us to redefine His truth in application. The question is, then, how does that affect the everyday standards by which we live?
Life Reflects Belief
Our standards of living are grounded in what we believe to be right and wrong. And what we truly believe will not just affect how we live, but will GOVERN how we live.
For example, our belief in gravity affects our choice of actions and expectations. None of us would jump off a building because of the resulting crash landing that gravity would cause. When you sit in a chair, you are trusting gravity to hold you on the seat. And when you crack an egg, you put a bowl or pan under it, because you expect the goo to go down and not up. Everything you choose to do and the results you expect are based on what you really believe.
Our standards as defined by how we live, then, reflect what we really believe. Not what we say we believe, but what we really believe.
If we say that God’s Word is the authority of our lives, then all of our standards for living in all areas of life should be based on what God says. But are they?
The Problem of “Christian Liberty”
Too often, Christians ignore God’s authority in establishing standards, especially in what we call the “grey areas.” The rationale is that if there is no strict command or prohibition by God in a certain area, then God must not care what we do in those areas of life, thereby allowing us “liberty in Christ” to make our own decisions in these things.
The problem is that nowhere in Scripture will you find any indication that there are areas of our lives that God does not care about. By defining Christian Liberty as “the freedom to choose absent of God’s preference” is a gross misinterpretation and application of the freedom we have in Christ. In fact, the Bible teaches just the opposite.
God cares about what we eat, what we drink, how we dress (Matt 6:25-34)—the most “non-spiritual” parts of our physical existence—even to the extent that Christ says to not be concerned with these things, because the “Father knows you have need of them” and He will take care of them for you.
So, if God has promised to supply these most basic needs for subsistence (Phil 4:19), doesn’t that mean that God will choose what is best for us in these areas? And if God is choosing what is best, doesn’t that mean that he has an opinion about what we should have? Doesn’t the Bible also say that we should acknowledge and consult God in ALL OUR WAYS (Prov 3:5-6)?
Obviously, God does have an opinion about everything we do, or He wouldn’t tell us to come to Him first. And yet, the majority of Christians do not even consider asking God about His opinion in making decisions in these “inconsequential” areas of their lives. Why?
Because we challenge God’s authority by redefining His truth as we question His power to implement it in our lives.
In other words, it is easier to pretend that God has nothing to say about these matters, than to find out what He says and trust Him to help us to do things His way.
The Danger of Independent Thinking
Unfortunately, although our lack of submission to God’s authority begins by ignoring Him only in the “grey areas,” this independent mindset becomes the foundation of our thinking, and eventually creeps out into other “less-grey” areas of our lives, causing us to question and redefine what “God really said” even to the breaking down of the foundational doctrines of the faith.
This independent thinking (choices made apart from a foundation in Biblical principles) is the Satan’s device to draw us farther and farther from reliance on God’s absolute truth, and it becomes a cancer that eventually destroys our faith and corrupts our choices and lifestyle. This is precisely what Satan used to get Eve to disobey God and eat the fruit, even though she knew EXACTLY what God said.
What starts out as “Christian liberty” (the idea that God doesn’t have a preference) in our choices about things like music and clothing becomes the underlying philosophy that leads to an eventual acceptance of things like ordaining homosexuals to the ministry, as we foster the redefining of God’s truth to greater and greater extents, gradually becoming more and more independent from God’s truth in every area of our living and thinking.
I am sure at this point that there are many of you who are ready to do battle with me over this last statement. But before engaging in the inevitable debate that is to follow, you must answer this question:
Where in the Bible does God ever say that there are areas of your life in which He does not care what you choose?
Without that foundation to start from, there is no argument you can make against the fact that God does have preferences for EVERY area of your life, especially when the Bible repeatedly commands us to seek Him in ALL our ways.
When it comes down to the standards by which we live our everyday lives (based on what we really believe), either we have chosen to go it alone, trying to redefine God’s definition of holiness to fit our chosen lifestyle apart from His principles of truth, or we are fully and truly submitted to God’s truth as the basis for everything we do, including the “grey areas” like food, music and clothing.
Standards Based in Holiness
At this point, we have to address the elephant in the room:
What DOES God say about specific standards for living based in holiness?
Stay with me and we will get to that next time, using Biblical truth to establish the foundation of how we should live as Christians, even in the “grey areas” of life.