“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12)
The child of God is governed by the Word of God. The Word of God has the answers to all of the questions of what to do when we don’t know what to do. The Apostle James has the answer in James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
Immediately after prayer, if there is no apparent answer for the question petitioned, the child of God’s first response is, “I will do what seems right to me.”
This presents a major, major problem because the child of God should not move on what “seems right,” but should act only on what is right according to God’s Word. God always has the right answer; however, many times it is not black and white as to the right choice to be made, but it is given in principle. Then the saved man says, “God does not really speak on this issue”; he is not diligent to seek out the principle, but takes the easy way out.
The easy way out is, “What is good for me and mine”; or any process of self-justification that allows the saved man to carry out his own desires. Case in point: “Doubtful disputations” found in Romans 14:1-23, where Paul brings up subjects such as the eating of certain foods, the celebration of certain days, the drinking of wine, etc.
(Romans 14:20, 21, 23) “For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. (21) It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak… (23) And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
The saved man says, “Oh, I know before God, that eating meat, etc. does not destroy the work of God. Therefore, I am going to eat meat that has been offered to idols and I am going to drink my wine when I want to.” Why? Because is “seemeth right” and it is “of faith” to me.
But the truth of the matter is that God regulates the saved man’s actions as to when and where also. The saved man is bound by two things:
- (Romans 14:14-16) “I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. (15) But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. (16) Let not then your good be evil spoken of.” You cannot destroy your weaker brother. (See also 1 Corinthians 10:31-33.)
- (Romans 13:1-4) You must abide the laws of the powers to be where you live, as long as these laws do not over-ride God’s laws; God’s law comes first. However, this devotion is dealing with “doubtful disputations”; not where, when, and how we worship God and exercise our religious freedom.
A friend of mine brought me a verse that spoke volumes to me concerning this same matter:
“And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof SHALL YE HAVE PEACE.” (Jeremiah 29:7)
This is the Lord’s way for the saved man to carry himself under the laws of the land wherein be abides. You are not to follow that “…which seemeth right unto a man [you],” for the text verse says “but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
The choice is clear for the saved man; either you want peace of the city and ye shall have peace; or you would rather suffer the consequences of rebellion against their laws. These consequences are the same as the way of death or of sin. The ways of death (sin) are defeat, depression, and destruction. (See John 10:10b, “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.”)
That which makes the saved man’s action concerning “doubtful disputations” very clear as to what is right, ultimately is the concern for God’s glory (honor) and for the spiritual welfare of the brother in Christ.
(1 Corinthians 10:23) “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient (or profitable): all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”
(1 Corinthians 10:31) “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
(1 Corinthians 10:32-33) “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: (33) Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”
Child of God, examine your city wherein you dwell and examine the laws of that city. The city wherein you live may even be prison. The same rule applies, if you want the results to be peace. James 3:18 says, “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace (or in this case, that keep and obey the law).”
Always keep in mind, yes, it may be “of faith” to you, and you can justify why you don’t have to follow their rules, because God said it was okay for me to do it. But don’t forget, lest ye be sorry, so sorry with the consequences of your breaking the law; God also tells you when, where, and how (Romans 14:22). Your responsibility is greater than self; for it is to glorify God and to edify the brethren.