And we’re supposed to be salt and light in a dark world, right?
Yes to both.
However, I was thinkin’ about this.
Awhile back a young man came to our church and got saved. You understand, this young man was in the drug culture, relatively deep. He drank, did drugs, and for the most part lived a quietly drugged existence. It’s hard not to notice the tattoos in prominent places, his hands, his arms and neck, and it was even harder to miss the huge gauges in his ears. The kind that leave gaping holes in his earlobes.
So this young man got saved, and became good friends with our family. He is around all the time, and we love it. He’s a great guy.
So one day I noticed something different about him. He told me God had led him to take his gauges out of his ears…so he did. A little bit later he came and told me he’d struggled with the next decision, but that he’d finally decided God wanted him to have some of his more obvious tattoos removed. This is an expensive and painful procedure, by the way, he told me some of it.
This got me thinkin’.
I know no one in our church told him to take his gauges out. We didn’t tell him to get his tats removed, either. We just loved on him as he was, and didn’t worry about all that stuff.
You know who told him to make those changes? The Holy Spirit did.
Now, if one of us had nagged him, we’d have never known if it were the Holy Spirit leading him, or if it was a misguided notion to please those around him.
Sometimes we are so concerned about helping our fellow new Christians out of the mire of sin, or just out of the mire of looking like the world, that we wind up trying to do God’s job for Him. I understand it’s a fine balance. We are supposed to exhort, reprove, rebuke…all of that.
But we need to balance all that with faith that the Holy Spirit is alive in this person. We need to have faith in God that He will bring the new Christian along, and that God is guiding and forming this Christian.
Remember that verse that says anything that is not done in faith is sin? Well, I think this is part of what God is referring to here.
When we aren’t operating in a place of faith, we wind up running around trying to make sure everyone we care about is toeing the line – making sure that we’re reproving and exhorting and rebuking to the point that we lose sight of the One who ultimately is supposed to be our Reprover, Exhorter unto good works, our Rebuker. Sometimes God uses people to do this job, and we shouldn’t be so worried about what other people think that we refuse to do it when God tells us to. But we also need to be sure it’s God telling us to speak those words, and not our own fear.
And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.