I Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
I Corinthians 10:23, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”
Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
This post is directed personally to a young friend who is grappling with the immense responsibility and choice he has before a Holy God.
He is, if I may project a bit from his questions, almost overwhelmed that he is now an adult and doesn’t have a direct authority figure between himself and God. He has been told what to do and what God’s standards are in the past. Now it is time for him to live out the above three verses, and all of the other principles in the Bible, without having someone in his life who will choose for him or veto his choices.
This is both a wonderful and a wonderfully frightening time in life.
But if we truly believe in the priesthood of the believer, it is one we must acknowledge. Any of his older adult friends or “second mothers” need to exhibit their belief in the priesthood of the believer by letting go right now. We can serve as encouragers and we can serve as advisors *when asked* but it is not appropriate for us to try to boss him around or tell him what his choices should be.
Do choices have consequences? Sure they do. That is why he has to learn how to make them now, rather than when he is 40.
He has been raised in the Word by loving parents. There is no stronger place to be starting from when embarking on adulthood.
You see, God has given us clear commandments in His Word. And where there are areas that can seem gray, He has told us to seek Him and to do everything to His glory. That *is* God’s standard.
Beyond that, if we try to set up standards, for my friend or for any of those we disciple, we can easily move into the areas of our personal comfort zones and personal preferences. There is a great danger there. God never gave us permission to present our personal preferences as though they were God-breathed.
The discussion a few of us had with my friend this morning concerned music styles. Does the Bible tell us what they should be? No, it does not. It says to do whatsoever we do to the glory of God. That leaves it pretty wide open and stated in a way where godly, intelligent people may disagree on the styles of music they choose. So be it.
What may be a far graver sin than inadvertently listening to a worthless song may be the sin of trying to control other people–to make ourselves into an idol in their lives–and believing that they should run all of their decisions past us.
No, they should not. They should run all of their decisions past God. He is the deity; we are not.
I can’t overemphasize how important it is to let go of those we disciple, lest we turn them into permanent adolescents, always seeking our approval. They need to know that God’s approval is all that matters. And He freely gives it to His children. He is far more loving to them than we are.
Will they make mistakes? Will they perhaps even stumble? Yes, possibly so. But again, we would not keep them from that possibility by keeping them under our thumb, even if we were able to do it till they were 50 years old. We will eventually pass from the scene and they will eventually have to live on their own. They need to do that while young.
Fact is, once our young people are supporting themselves, they are full adults. We are advisors then, not mini-gods in their lives.
We all need to live with integrity, our youth and ourselves. The Bible warns against those who would offend others (cause them to stumble into sin) by their own idolatrous behavior. The priesthood of the believer applies to all of us and we must all take it seriously. God always loves us, but He can’t use us very well if we are worshipping an idol in His place. And, unfortunately, when we get into idol worship, we often inadvertently drag others along with us, defiling them as well.
God says, “I love you. I cleansed you by my Son’s death in your place. Live to glorify Me.”
It really is that simple and that hard.