“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). He created man. In His own image, He created male and female. He commanded them to populate the earth and to fill it with inhabitants who will worship Him and give Him glory—out of their own free will.
Yeap. He gave us free will. At some point or other, many of us probably would have asked the question, why? Why give us free will? Why give us the ability to make wrong decisions and sin? Wouldn’t it have been easier if God had just made us all perfect with the inability to fall?
Well, sure. It would have been easier. It would definitely have saved God thousands of years of heartache. But it would also have defeated God’s entire purpose of creating us in the first place. He made us so that we can make our own conscious decisions to worship Him with our lives and to live for His glory. But that also means that we have been given the choice not to follow after Him.
Therefore, when we freely choose to follow after God in voluntary adoration, it makes this unique relationship between the created and the Creator that much more beautiful. After all, God created us for His pleasure, and what pleasure is there in being loved by someone who does not have a choice?
And so those of us who have chosen to love God resolve to obeying His will and following His ways. On the big scale of things, that’s an easy enough decision to make. Sure, I’ll follow God! How difficult could it be?
It doesn’t take too long, however, before we begin to realize that not everything is as black and white as we may have thought. Matters of theology and doctrine barely even scratch the surface of the many other decisions that God’s people do not agree on.
And no, we’re not even talking about denominational differences here. We’re talking about the issues that everyone has to deal with practically throughout a person’s lifetime. The kinds where differences of opinion abound—even within a single family.
When it comes to matters of social justice, welfare, societal responsibilities, child-rearing, education, entertainment, the economy, etc., it can be difficult to come to a compromise when the Bible does not tell us specifically how we should go about doing things.
One of the biggest challenges that many Christians face is trying to figure out if something is God’s will. There are probably over a million sermons and articles and books and videos out there that talk about finding out what God’s will is.
The best answer I’ve found to that question so far is that God’s will does not contradict His Word or His Character. It’s a simple enough formula to follow and has kept me on the straight and narrow path for the most part.
However, there are always going to be issues that could be argued to either glorify or shame the name of the Lord, depending on how we choose to look at the situations. As much as God has given us His Word and His Holy Spirit to help us make decisions, He ultimately leaves it up to our free will to decide.
Being human beings who obviously prefer that our opinions are favored, we often do a great job at rationalizing our reasons for believing something to be right or wrong.
Either way we swing, we are able to give our reasons for why our way would glorify God in contrast to the other way, while those who don’t agree with us are able to do the exact same thing—Both camps believing with full conviction that they are being obedient to God.
So how do we deal with situations like these? What do we do when two opposing opinions both have valid reasons for holding fast to their stand? I think the most important thing to remember when we cannot seem to agree with each other is to take a step back and take a look at the big picture once again.
What are the things that hold us together as the body of Christ—diverse though we may be? What are some of our fundamental beliefs that we know to be true no matter what we may think of the specific circumstance?
One thing I know is important to remember is that God is sovereign. He is in complete and perfect control. As fired up or passionate as we may be about certain things, we know from His Word that God cares even more.
The things we do as individuals have repercussions and consequences, but God ultimately works things out for His good purposes. He makes all things beautiful in His time, as ugly and hopeless as the current situation may seem.
When it comes to “gray area” issues where right or wrong are not clearly defined, we can rest assured that regardless of which side we may be on, we trust in the same God for the same results: that His name be ultimately glorified.
Another important thing to remember is that no matter our differences in opinion or conviction, we are still one body in Christ, and our love for each other is what shows the world that Jesus loves them. At the end of the day, our unity is not about us, but about those around us, and about the God we claim to serve.
And so we ought to be praying for each other. We ought to look out for each other and continue to love one another, regardless of our inability to agree on certain matters.
Finally, we need to remember that we are not each other’s enemy. We are bound together by a heavenly bond—a priesthood of believers in Christ Jesus. And God has told us clearly through the words of Paul, that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world.
Our earthly conflicts may find us on opposing sides, but the most important side we need to be on is the one we know has already won. And so in our efforts to do the “right thing” while on earth, let us keep these things in mind.
In the big scheme of things, our inability to agree on details may not have much of an impact, because God is bigger than any conflict we may face in our lifetime. Our trust is in Him, and He will bring all things to completion when the time is right.
In our disagreement, however, we need to continually love one another, and be praying for one another. Because at the end of all things, we are on God’s victorious side, and our sole purpose here on earth is to bring as many people as we can to be on His side too!
|Share The Good News|