Godly living in an upside-down world
© 2020 Chip Kawalsingh / Harvest City Church
Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. (Romans 14:19-21, NKJV)
There’s a clear biblical principle behind this text. Can you see it? Although the apostle Paul mentions food, the same principle applies to most areas of everyday life—including social media.
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise… (Ephesians 5:15, NIV)
We all need to be wise in what we post (and equally in what we ‘like’) on social media. Of course, your personal accounts are your own, but ultimately you represent Jesus and His beautiful bride, the church. Let’s not destroy the work of God for the sake of ‘food’, or that which is temporary and earthly. After all, Romans reminds us that the Kingdom of God is not about eating or drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy (Romans 14:17).
When I was a much younger man and trying to decide on a course of action I would think about my pastor and ask: Would Dick Iverson do this? Would Colin Cooper do this? If my godly mentors wouldn’t do it, then I probably shouldn’t either! Often, I found wisdom by considering their responses and balancing them with the Word.
Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God‘ (Matthew 5:9, NKJV). We ought to have a conviction of peace and a passion for the things of God over that which is temporary and of this world.
While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18, NKJV)
One of my greatest prayers is, ‘Lord, may zeal (or passion) for your Kingdom consume us! Let passion for souls take over our lives. Let it be all-consuming. Let it be our hearts’ number one desire!’ We all know that Jesus is the answer for our world’s problems. Nothing else can change the heart of man but the cross of Christ. Therefore, it makes sense to point people to Jesus over and above anything else. But if you don’t have peace yourself, you cannot spread God’s peace. If you’ve not let go of past offences you will never walk in total freedom.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36, NIV)
Christianity is not just for Sunday: it’s for every day. ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being‘ (Acts 17:28a, NIV). Over the years, I have often made the deliberate choice to see the best in my brothers and sisters (and not see the worst). If you’re looking for ways to be offended you will easily find them! Instead, Jesus commands us to prefer one another (Romans 12:10). Paul also issues a stern warning:
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:14-16, NIV)
If you spend more time watching the news and looking at social media than you do reading the Bible it can lead to major imbalances in your life. Certain things can act like triggers and bring out the worst in people. Remember, not everyone is at the same level in his or her Christian journey as you. So live wise, be mindful, and be alert (1 Peter 5:8).
Carelessness on social media has cost many people their jobs, their friends, and a whole lot more. It’s so easy for something to be taken the wrong way. Almost anything can be taken out of context or read in more than one way. The old carpentry proverb ‘measure twice, cut once’ applies equally well to what you post. Ask yourself: Will this bless others in my Kingdom family? If you’re unsure how something may be received, don’t post it! Remove any stumbling block that could cause people to hurt. It’s simple advice, but it’s very powerful.
Equally, reading into things makes for an unhappy life. Like you’ve heard me say time and time again: offence is a choice, choose not to be offended. Keep a simplicity of heart, innocent joy of the Lord and genuine love for each other. Let the peace of God reign in you, and let Christ be glorified in every area of your life.
They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46-47, NLT)
It’s this Christ-like love and joy that we find in the early church that brought many people into God’s Kingdom. When Jesus died on the cross, He did so that we may be reconciled to Him. Let me leave you with a great Scripture to help cement these things:
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.
So you may eat any meat that is sold in the marketplace without raising questions of conscience. For “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”
If someone who isn’t a believer asks you home for dinner, accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you without raising questions of conscience. (But suppose someone tells you, “This meat was offered to an idol.” Don’t eat it, out of consideration for the conscience of the one who told you. It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person.) For why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks? If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it?
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:23-33, NLT)
Ultimately, our goal as believers (and mine as a father and a pastor) is to bring many sons and daughters to Jesus, via the foot of the cross. And it starts with being wise in how we live.