Tag Archives: Ray Stedman devotional

Devotional by Ray Stedman – A Willing Spirit – A daily devotion for October 24

Topic:A Willing Spirit

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:12

Ray Stedman

Several years ago, while I was preparing to preach a sermon on this psalm, I received an anonymous letter from someone in my congregation saying that he was a Christian but was involved in a very serious and continuing moral failure. The letter was an attempt to be honest and tell me the trouble in his life. I didn’t know if that person would be in the service the next Sunday or not, but I hoped he would be.

I decided to refer to the letter in my sermon for two reasons: first, because it was anonymous, and I could do it without betraying a confidence; and second, because the problem was of such a serious nature that I wanted to help the person if I could.

The writer had acknowledged that he knew the action was wrong but finally excused himself on the basis that God had not yet given him the power to break away from it. That was self-deception. The truth is that God has given us the power to break away from these things. Peter clearly declares: His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). The very possession of the life of Jesus Christ in us is the power that it takes to break away from habits of sin. No one will ever be free from the awful grip of evil upon their lives until they understand that they already have from God all that it takes to be free, if they will but step out upon it.

David is also asking for help. Lord, give me this willing spirit, he says, and God immediately gives it. Then it must be acted on. That is the point. Do not wait for a feeling to come that you are forgiven. God has said you are forgiven. Do not wait for a feeling of power to possess you. God has declared He has already given you the power. As you believe Him (and that is what faith is), you can do what you need to do and what God wants you to do.

That is what happened with David, and that is what happened with the anonymous letter writer. After preaching that sermon, I found out the person had been in that service, because he later wrote a second anonymous letter. This time he shared how God had used that message to deliver him from the grip of the evil relationship he had described before.

Lord, thank You for giving me all that I need for both forgiveness and power through the Lord Jesus.

Life Application
We can choose to be helpless victims of ruinous habits, but God provides an alternative. Are we willing to be set free by Christ’s divine power?

Devotions by Ray Stedman for September 4 – God Gave Them Over

  • Topic:God Gave Them Over
    READ THE SCRIPTURE: ROMANS 1:24-32

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts, to sexual impurity, for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
Romans 1:24

Ray Stedman

The wickedness at work among human beings follows a process which is identified in this passage by the thrice-repeated phrase, God gave them over. This phrase identifies what is going on in our culture. The first mark of wickedness in a godless society is widespread sexual immorality — the degrading, or the dishonoring, of the body. Many people think this account describes all the evil things men do, and then says that God washes his hands of evil people because they are so filthy and dirty. That is not what this says. But because men run after other gods and refuse the testimony of their own hearts and do not glorify or thank the true God, God removes his restraints from society so that what is done in secret is allowed to break out into openness and acceptability. That is the mark of the wrath of God at work. The first sign of wickedness in a civilization is that sexual immorality becomes widely accepted.

You may ask, Why is it that sex always seems to be singled out as the sign of God’s judgment Many Christians have wrongly concluded that sexual sins are the worst kinds of sin. But that is not true. This passage in Romans bears it out. It begins with sexual impurity and proceeds to sexual perversity. But, the final result is not sexual sins, but sins of the spirit. Widespread animosity, hatred of the heart — these are the worst sins. There is good reason why God allows sexual practices to come to the surface. He allows it to show us what is going on in our spiritual lives. It highlights the fact that sex is linked with worship. Sex is a desire to possess another body and to be possessed by another. It is a deep-seated craving inherent in every human being.

We have all heard the statement, Girls give sex in order to get love; boys give love in order to get sex. This is true, superficially. But what both are really after is not sex at all; they are after worship. They really want to worship and to be worshipped. They really want a sense of total fulfillment, a oneness, an identity. Only God can give that fulfillment. Only God can satisfy that deep sense of longing for complete identity and unity with another person. That is what we call worship. When we worship, we are longing to be possessed of God, and to possess him fully. That is why the highest description of the relationship with God possible to a believer is found in the words of Jesus in John 14-15, You in me, and I in you (John 14:20). When people think that they are going to find that fulfillment in sex, God says to them, Look, it won’t work. But you won’t believe that until you try it out. So he removes the restraints and allows immoral sexual practices to become widely accepted, understanding that men indulging in these things will finally find themselves just as dissatisfied, empty and hopeless as they were when they started. Thus they will learn that worshipping God is the only way by which people find fulfillment.

Father, I see how accurately these words describe our own times. Thank you that you have not forsaken this world, and that the message of truth and light is still as available as ever.

Life Application
Do we react to the prevalent cultural immorality with self-righteous condemnation? Does it increase our awe and gratitude for God’s grace to us, and therefore our compassionate care for others

Devotions by Ray Stedman for August 29 – The True Sabbath Rest

Topic:The True Sabbath Rest
READ THE SCRIPTURE: NEHEMIAH 13:15-22

In those days I saw men in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath, Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day.
Nehemiah 13:15

Ray Stedman

Nehemiah was concerned by this disregard for the Law. He is trying to correct the difficulties that had caused problems for Israel in the past. So he orders the gates to be closed at sunset on Friday. He requires the Levites to cleanse themselves and to guard the gates so that no one violates the Sabbath.

Should we also keep the Sabbath by refraining from work and travel? As we have seen throughout this book, these regulations imposed upon Israel were what the New Testament calls shadows, pictures of something even more important that God wants observed. You observe the Sabbath when you fulfill what the Sabbath portrays.

At the heart of the Sabbath is the word rest. The Sabbath is intended for people, that they may learn to rest. The Sabbath is God’s stress management program! It is how to prevent burnout—how to recover from too much pressure and catch up with yourself. It is how to gather yourself together and become able to handle the work you must do.

There are two reasons given in the Scripture for the Sabbath. The first one is found in Exodus 20:11. There we are told that because God finished creation in six days and then rested on the seventh day, He asked His people to rest after six days of labor. Why did God rest? He accomplished His objective. People too must recognize a limit to their work. There is a need to stop, to allow the body, mind, and spirit to recognize their limitations.

The second reason the Sabbath was given is often ignored. God said to Israel, Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day (Deuteronomy 5:15). They were to rest in order to reflect on God’s ability to work beyond the labors they had already completed.

So there are two aspects of the Sabbath—creation and redemption. There is a rest of cessation; a ceasing from our own works. But then there is the rest of rejoicing in the mighty delivering power of God.

Father, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of my life, teach me that I need to enter into the rest of creation and redemption, always remembering that Your work comes before my work.

Life Application
Are we at rest because of the work God has done and is doing in us? Are we relying on our own strength rather than understanding His power as the source?

Devotional by Ray Stedman – Seed Thoughts – A daily devotion for January 7

Topic:Seed Thoughts
A daily devotion for January 7th

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.”
Mark 4:26-27

Ray Stedman

This is a secret of the kingdom of God, and to me it is one of the most encouraging of all the parables Jesus ever uttered. He is speaking of how this rule of God increases, how it grows in a life. He explains it as a coming to harvest by a patient expectation that God will work. The key of this whole passage is, “the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” That is, there are forces at work that will be faithful to perform their work—whether a farmer stews and frets about it or not. Farmers do what they can do, what is expected of them. But then God must work. And God will work. And in the confidence of that, this farmer rests secure. As Jesus draws the picture this farmer goes out to sow. It is hard work as he sows the field, but this is what he can do. But then he goes home and goes to bed. He does not sit up all night biting his fingernails, wondering if the seed fell in the right places or whether it will take root. Nor does he rise the next morning and go out and dig it up to see whether or not it has sprouted yet. He rests secure in the fact that God is at work, that He has a part in this process, and He must do it; no one can do it for Him. But he will faithfully perform it. So the farmer rests secure, knowing that as the seed grows there are stages that are observable: “first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.” It is only as the grain is ripe that he is called into action again. When the harvest is ready, then he is to act once more.

This is exactly what Paul describes for us in that passage in 1 Corinthians 3:9a: “For we are God’s fellow workers.” This is the way we ought to expect Him to work. It involves a witness first, perhaps a word of teaching or exhortation to someone—or to ourselves. And then an inevitable process begins, one that takes time and patience and allows God to work. One of the most destructive forces at work in the church today is our insistent demand for instant results. We want to have immediate conversions, immediate responses every time we speak. We tend not to allow time for the Word to take root and grow and come to harvest.

I have watched a boy in Peninsula Bible Church (PBC) growing up since grade school. I watched him come into adolescence and enter into a period of deep and bitter rebellion against God. I watched his parents, hurt and crushed by his attitudes, yet nevertheless praying for him—saying what they could to him—but above all holding him up in prayer. I watched the whole process as the seed that had been sown in his heart took root and began to grow. There were tiny observable signs of change occurring. Gradually he came back to the Lord. And as an adult young man, he asked me to fill out a reference for him to go to seminary. That is the Word growing secretly. The sower knows not how it happens but can rest secure in this.

Our Lord is teaching us the fantastic truth that God is at work. It does not all depend on us!

Thank You, Lord that I can trust that as I do my part and sow the seed of Your Word wherever I can, You will do the rest.

Life Application
We have the privilege of sowing the fertile seed of the gospel. Do we trust the sovereign work of the Spirit to produce a harvest, or rely on our own effectiveness?

Devotional by Ray Stedman – Pay Careful Attention! – A daily devotion for December 6

Topic:Restoring Dominion
A DAILY DEVOTION FOR DECEMBER 6TH
READ THE SCRIPTURE: HEBREWS 2:5-9

In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
Hebrews 2:8b-9

Ray Stedman

This passage describes humanity’s present state of futility. Here is the whole story of human history in a nutshell: God created us to exercise dominion, but we do not yet see everything in subjection to us. We attempt to exercise our dominion, but we no longer can do so adequately. We have never forgotten the position God gave us. Throughout the history of the race, there is a continual restatement of the dreams of humanity for dominion over the earth and the universe. This is why we cannot keep off the highest mountain. We have got to explore the depths of the sea. We have to get out into space. Why? Because it is there.

Humans consistently manifest a remarkable racial memory, a vestigial recollection of what God told them to do. The trouble is that, when we try to accomplish this now, we create a highly explosive and dangerous situation, for our ability to exercise dominion is no longer there. Even in the individual life this is true. How many have realized the dreams and ideals you began with? Who can say, I have done all that I wanted to do; I have been all that I wanted to be. Paul in Romans puts it, …the creation was subjected to futility, (Romans 8:20 RSV).

But, we do see Jesus, the writer says. This is our one hope. With the eye of faith, we see Jesus already crowned and reigning over the universe, the man, Jesus, fulfilling humanity’s lost destiny. In the last book of the Bible there is a scene where John beholds the One seated upon the throne of the universe while thousands of angels are crying out in unending worship before him. The call goes out to find one who is able to open the book with seven seals which is the title deed to earth, the right to run the earth. A search is made through the length of human history for someone worthy enough to open the seals, but no one can be found. John says he wept because no one was found worthy to open the scroll. But the angel says, Do not weep for the Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered and he can open the seals (Revelation 5:5 RSV). When John turned to see the Lion, to his amazement he saw a Lamb, a Lamb that had been slain. As he watched the Lamb stepped up to the throne and took the book, and all heaven broke into acclaim, for here at last was found One worthy to own the title deed of earth.

This is what the writer sees here. Here we see Jesus, who alone has broken through the barrier that keeps us from our heritage. What is that barrier? What is it that keeps us from realizing our dreams of dominion? It is put in one grim word: Death! Death is more than the ending of life. Death, means uselessness; it means waste, futility. Death, in that sense, pervades all of life. You can see the signs of it all along.

But Jesus fulfilled the qualifications to realize humanity’s heritage. He became lower than the angels, he took on flesh and blood, he entered into the human race to become part of it, Here we see Jesus, who alone experienced death. He tasted death for every man, and in doing so he took our place. He thus made it possible for those who throw in their lot with him to find that he has removed the thing that gives death its sting. In Jesus Christ mankind has that one ray of hope, given him to realize the destiny God had provided. Christ has come to begin a new race of people. That race includes himself and all those who are his, and to that race the promise is that they shall enter into all the fullness God ever intended man to have.

Thank you, Father, that you sent your Son to die for me, so that I could be restored and joined with you in that dominion that you created me for. Open my eyes that I might see him more clearly.

Life Application
God’s loving, sovereign plan is that we as His subjects should reign in life. How has He provided for this possibility? Are we living by means of the resurrection power of our indwelling Lord Jesus Christ? If not, why not?

Devotional by Ray Stedman – Established! – A daily devotion for November 30

Topic:Established!
A DAILY DEVOTION FOR NOVEMBER 30TH
READ THE SCRIPTURE: ROMANS 16:25-27

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.
Romans 16:25-27

Ray Stedman

Those remarkable words constitute a summary of the whole letter to the Romans — a beautiful finale to this great epistle. You will notice that the goal the apostle has in view in writing this letter and summary is that we who read this letter may be established.

Have you ever had the desire to be established? Many people think they are established when they are simply stuck in the mud. Most of us think that being established means that all progress ceases. We sit down, camp there, and that is it. In that sense, there are many Christians who are established. But when Paul speaks of our being established, he means putting us on solid, stable ground. Have you ever erected a picnic table and tried to find a place where all four legs touched the ground at the same time? You tried to establish it so that it would not rock, or become shaky, or uncertain. That is the idea that Paul has in mind in this word establish. God wants to bring you and me to a place where we are no longer rocking or shaky or unstable, but solid and secure. The idea is basically what all human beings look for — an inner security from which you can handle all the problems of life. You become dependable, and have a true sense of worth, so that nothing gets to you, or shakes you up, or throws you off balance.

This is the goal of all Christian teaching in the New Testament (and especially the goal of the letter to the Romans) that we believers might be brought to that place of security where we are not shaken by things, so that we do not lose our tempers easily, or get frustrated, angry, resentful or hostile; where we do not scream at our children, or yell at our mates, or get upset at the neighbors.

Notice the resource that the apostle counts on to make that happen: Now to him who is able to establish you… It is God himself who is responsible for this. You and I are not given the final responsibility to bring this about. Isn’t that encouraging? Now there are things he asks us to do: We are to understand what he is saying to us in this letter, and we are to willingly cooperate with it and give ourselves to it. But even if we do not, Paul is saying, we do not have the ultimate responsibility to bring this about. God will do it.

God did it with Paul. Paul was a brilliant young Jew with an ambitious heart, a sharp mind and a strong sense of achievement, due to his notable gifts and his desire to become famous. Yet God broke him, softened him, changed him and put him through circumstances that Paul did not understand at the time. This finally established him, so that no matter what came, he remained strong, steady, trusting and certain. That is the great good news of this letter. Now to him who is able to establish you…

Thank you, Lord, that you have promised to establish me in the faith and bring me to a place of security and strength in you.

Life Application
Are we merely part of the establishment, or are we firmly established in Christ as our true identity? Are we fully and confidently engaged as His fruit-bearing servants?

Devotional by Ray Stedman – A Bold Reminder – A daily devotion for November 24

Topic:A Bold Reminder
A DAILY DEVOTION FOR NOVEMBER 24TH
READ THE SCRIPTURE: ROMANS 15:15-16

But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:15-16

Ray Stedman

You would think that a church that was theologically knowledgeable, able to instruct and counsel one another in the deep problems of life, and filled with a spirit of goodness and compassion, would hardly need anything more said to them. Yet it is to that kind of church that Paul addressed his letter to the Romans. He says they needed three other things.

First, they needed a bold reminder of the truth. I saw a man the other day with a string around his finger. The string was to remind him of something. The fact that we so easily forget things is somehow built into our humanity and I think one of the greatest proofs of the fall of man is that we have such a hard time remembering what we want to remember, yet we so easily remember what we want to forget! We even need to be reminded again and again of these great themes of the gospel. That is why in, Chapter 12, Paul says, You need your mind renewed by the Holy Spirit, (Romans 12:2). That is one reason to gather every Sunday: We need to have our minds renewed. We need to be called back to a vision of reality. Living out in the world, as many of you are, working every day among non-Christians, it is so easy to be sucked into the attitudes of the world around. It is so easy to get the idea that life is designed to be a pleasant picnic, that we can work toward the day when we can retire and enjoy ourselves. I find that attitude prevalent among people everywhere, but that is not what the Bible says. The Bible says we are in the midst of a battle, a battle to the death, against a keen and crafty foe. He wants to discourage us and defeat us, and to make us feel angry and hostile. He knows how to do it, and he never lets up. This life is not designed to be a time of relaxing. There are times when we need recreation and vacations, when we can slow down a bit. But you never see Paul talking about quitting the battle. You cannot quit, as long as life is there. So Paul tells us that we need to be reminded, day by day and week by week, that we are in a battle and that we have a crafty foe.

The second thing the apostle said the Christians at Rome needed was a priestly ministry. He told them, You not only need to be reminded of the truth, but you need an example to follow. You need somebody you can see doing this kind of thing. That is what pastors have the privilege of doing. They are called of God, not only to be an example of leadership, but also to be like a priest working in the temple, to awaken among people a sense of worship, a sense of the greatness of God

The third thing they needed is that, the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Every congregation needs this. We need to labor, to pray, to work, to counsel, to evangelize. But all of the activity of the Christian life is of no avail if it is not sanctified by the Holy Spirit, if it does not have in it that touch of God, that unction from on high, that divine wind blowing upon the dead bones and making them come to life. Paul is reminding them here of the ministry of prayer, and the need to remember that God himself must touch something — otherwise it is dead and useless. So Paul calls this church at Rome back to this tremendous reality. They had so much, but they needed this as well.

Lord, continue to remind me of my need for these three things. I continue to need a bold reminder of the truth, a priestly example and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Thank you that you are more than willing to provide these things.

Life Application
Has the daily exposure to worldly affairs and ideas diverted our minds from our heritage of Truth and Love? Have we settled into complacency when that knowledge and goodness is so urgently needed?

Devotional by Ray Stedman – Accept One Another – A daily devotion for November 22

Today:Accept One Another
A DAILY DEVOTION FOR NOVEMBER 22ND
READ THE SCRIPTURE: ROMANS 15:7-13

Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, Therefore I will give praise to You among the Gentiles, and I will sing to Your name.
Romans 15:7-9

Ray Stedman

I do not know if you have ever been involved in a church fight, but if you have, you know that tempers can get very hot. People can get very upset, and factions can form; divisions and feuds break out.

Yet I have never heard of a church fight that was any worse than the attitudes that Jews and Gentiles had toward one another in Paul’s day. The Jews held the Gentiles in contempt; they called them dogs. They would have nothing to do with them. The Jews even regarded it as sinful to go into a Gentile’s house and they would never dream of eating with a Gentile. They regarded them with utter contempt. In the book of Acts, Peter got into serious trouble with his Jewish friends because he went into the home of Cornelius, and ate with him. It was only because Peter could show that the Holy Spirit sent him there, that he was able to justify his conduct to his friends.

Of course, if the Jews felt that way about the Gentiles, the Gentiles paid it right back in kind. They hated the Jews. They called them all kinds of names. This is where modern anti-Semitism was born. These were opposing factions who hated one another, and would have nothing to do with one another.

Yet, Paul says, that kind of division God is healing by the work of Jesus. How did Jesus do it? A more literal translation of the text is that, he became a minister of circumcision. What the apostle is arguing is that the Lord healed this breach between the Jews and the Gentiles by his giving in and limiting his own liberty. He who designed the human body, he himself consented to the act of circumcision. Jesus consented to that and limited himself in that way. He became a circumcised Jew. He who declared in his ministry that all foods are clean, and thus gave clear evidence that he understood the liberty that God gives us in the matter of eating, never once ate anything but kosher food. He limited himself to the Jewish diet, even though he declared that all foods were clean.

He who was without sin insisted on a sinner’s baptism. He came to John, and John said, Why are you coming to me? I need to be baptized by you. You do not need to be baptized. Jesus said, Allow it to be so, for in this way it becomes us. It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness, (Matthew 3:15). So he who had no reason to be baptized consented to be baptized. He who longed to heal the hurts of the world said that when he came, he limited himself to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Paul’s argument is that the results of that limitation were that Jesus broke the back of the argument and of the contempt between the Jew and the Gentile. He reached both Jews and Gentiles to the glory of God. If you trace this through you can see that what Paul is saying is that in the death and resurrection of Jesus, God showed his faithfulness to the Jews in fulfilling the promises made to the patriarchs; and he showed his mercy to the Gentiles, saving them who were without any promises at all. Thus the two, Jew and Gentile, shall fully become one, just as the Scriptures predict.

What Paul is really saying is, You do not need to separate; you do not need to split; you do not need to fight; you do not need to sue one another. You can work the problems out, and God is honored and glorified when you do.

Thank you for this miracle of unity in Christ, and I ask that it be preserved in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Life Application
Jesus’ example is the answer to ‘What would Jesus do?’ The cross was the price He paid for our acceptance. Are we laying down our rights in order to accept others for Jesus’ sake?

Devotional by Ray Stedman – Conviction Based on God’s Word – A daily devotion for November 20

Topic:Conviction Based on God’s Word
A DAILY DEVOTION FOR NOVEMBER 20TH
READ THE SCRIPTURE: ROMANS 14:19-23

So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.
Romans 14:22

Ray Stedman

This verse is not saying you are to keep quiet about your liberties, that you do not say anything to anybody, that you keep it between yourself and God. What Paul is saying is, if you have faith, have it between yourself and God. Let God’s Word be the basis for your faith, and nothing else. Be sure that what you are doing is not because of pride on your part, because you want to show off how free you are — you are doing this because God has freed you by his Word. If you have really based it on that, then your action will be one in which your conscience is free. You will not feel guilty and troubled as to whether you are acting beyond what the Word of God really says. You will be happy, free, blessed. But, if you do not, if you really have not settled this based on Scripture, but are acting only because you want to indulge yourself; if you like this thing but you still feel a bit troubled by it; if you act then, you are going to be condemned by your conscience. And if you are condemned by your conscience, you will feel guilty. And if you act because you feel guilty, you are not acting out of faith, and, therefore, you are sinning. This is Paul’s argument.

Without faith, Hebrews says, it is impossible to please God, (Hebrews 11:6a). Faith means believing what God has said. You must base your actions in Christian liberty on what the Word of God declares — not about any specific thing, but the great principle of freedom which is set forth. Now, if you understand that, fine, Paul says. But be sure that you yourself are acting not out of pride, not out of mere self-indulgence, but out of a deep conviction that rests upon the Word and revelation of God.

To sum up, what Paul has said to us is: Do not deliberately stumble or shock your brother or sister. Do not deliberately do things that will offend them, or even make them feel uncomfortable. Think about them, not yourself. Second: Give up your right when it threatens the peace or hinders the growth of another individual. Be alert to judge in that area. Third: Never act from doubt. Act only from conviction, by the Word, and by the Spirit of God. If these problems are all settled on that basis, you will be moving gradually toward the great liberty that we have as children of God.

What will happen in the eyes of the watching world? Christians will be seen to be free people, not controlled by scruples that limit them and narrow them in their enjoyment of God’s great gifts. Yet, these things will not be of such importance that they are put at the heart and center of everything. The world will begin to see that the heart of the Gospel is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, the gifts of God. Those gifts, then, are the basis for freedom in all these areas. But you are just as free to say, No to the indulgence of a gift as you are to say Yes to it. That is true freedom. You are not free if you think you have won your rights. That is not freedom. Freedom is the right to give up your rights, for good and proper cause. That is what the watching world will begin to see.

Teach me Lord, to walk softly before you in this, with a concern for my brother and sister; to be patient and to learn to enjoy my liberties only as they do not injure or hurt another.

Life Application
What three conclusions summarize God’s Word to us concerning our attitudes and behavior in debatable issues? What is authentic freedom when the issue is our ‘rights’?