February 18 2012, 4:42 am | Bill Elliff
God gives us, through His Spirit and Word, wonderfully clear directions about everything we face. Sometimes that is in the form of directions about specific areas (just like we saw yesterday in divorce), and at other times, general principles that guide every decision.
In 1 Cor 9-10, Paul is dealing with a "grey area" of eating meat sacrificed to idols...a practice that, in itself was not inherently wrong, but could become wrong in the way it created a stumbling block for others. During this discourse, God gives us 4 great guiding questions we can ask re: every moment of life...questions we can always ask to help us discover the "good, acceptable, and perfect" will of God.
#1: Will this advance the gospel?
"I do all things for the sake of the gospel" 1 Corinthians 9:23.
I want ever purchase, every conversation, every relationship, every decision to be seen and made through the lens of propagating the good news about Christ. If we have settled the issue that this is the reason we live--not our own comfort, pleasure, self-indulgence, self-advancement, etc.--then this is an easy question to ask. If I have not settled that question, then the question is, “Why am I living?”
#2: Will this be profitable?
"All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable" 1 Corinthians 9:23.
Do I have the right to sit down and watch television for hours? To go buy some clothes? To give my time, money, resources, to some step? Perhaps, but is it profitable? Does this use of my time, or finances, or influence really profit? A wise company owner has the liberty to do a lot of things, but they do not always profit his company.
#3: Will this help or hinder others?
"All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor." 1 Corinthians 10:23-24.
If I am making a decision that I have freedom in the Lord to make, but it harms my neighbor, hurt's another Christian’s walk with Christ, etc. I should not do it. If it helps me but at the same time hurts others, I should not do it.
#4: Will this glorify God?
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" 1 Corinthians 10:31.
Is God honored, magnified, seen for who He is by this step or decision? Jonathan Edwards said our job is "to give the world a right opinion of God."
Order Bill's books here including "The Child of 10,000 Names" and "WhiteWater".