Let's Not Play in Minor Leagues

1 Corinthians 10:31 So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

I was in 5th grade and the Izod craze was in full swing. Everyone who was anyone had one, so I guess that made me a no one. I could hardly wait until Christmas. I had already decided that would be the only present for which I would ask. I went to sleep at night dreaming of how fashionable I'd look as I danced down the halls of El Paso Elementary School. When I dressed in the morning, I pretended I was slipping on my new all cotton shirt beautifully emblazoned with the Izod logo.

Finally, Christmas morning came. I carefully chose the box I thought was most likely to contain my new shirt. I ripped off the wrapping and threw open the box......to find a Braggin' Dragon brand shirt from Sears. I was certain my classmates would notice the minor detail of uh flames shooting out of my alligator's mouth, so I became very patriotic that spring semester. I walked nearly everywhere with my hand over my heart. A minor detail led to a major impact.

Today my reading is Romans 14. Essentially, this chapter concerns the minor issues about which guidance is not spelled out in scripture. In Paul's day the dissension centered around issues of food and drink. Though the world may have changed a bit in 2,000 years, the fact that people still argue over insignificant issues has not. If Paul were writing today, he might address the varying opinions on movies, television shows, dress and alcohol among others.

In this passage, Paul gives parameters to help each individual make a decision rather than passing out advice on each of these trivial issues. When I face a decision about what to wear, see, do, eat or drink, I can use Paul's guidelines to aid me in making a godly choice.
  1. Be Fully Convinced in My Own Mind (Verse 5) - The Bible strongly urges us to obtain the counsel of those we consider wiser than ourselves on a multitude of issues. The nature of these issues, however, is such that eventually we must determine for ourselves what is right as an individual and family. Often when these type things crop up I am thankful that I am a wife and have the God-ordained leadership of my husband to assist in making decisions. Nevertheless, until I am fully convinced of what God is telling me to do about this issue, I shouldn't act.
  2. Remember That I Will Give an Account to God (Verse 12) - When making a decision about an issue that is not spelled out in the Word, I need to be mindful that I will stand before God one day. Shannon, how would you feel about standing before God and relating to Him your decision? This is an excellent question to ask myself. If I would have any reservation proudly telling Jesus my choice, I may need to revisit the issue.
  3. Be Mindful of Others in My Sphere of Influence (Verses 13-15) - Every Christian has someone whom they are influencing. It may be a spouse, child, sibling, neighbor or fellow church member. God may give me complete freedom of conscience on one of these minor issues, but if my doing so damages the faith of another Christian I am not acting out of love.
  4. Do Not Impose My Standards On Others (Verse 22) - Whatever decision I make, Paul admonishes me to keep that decision between myself and God. In other verses in this chapter, Paul advises to not pass judgment on others and to do what leads to peace. These minor issues are definitely not worth causing dissension among Christians over. I need to make the choice to be a vehicle for peace, not a torch for discord. The best way to do that is by keeping my opinions to myself.

Jesus, all too often I allow minor issues to cause major angst in my life. Today, fill my heart with love and peace in the place of criticism and judgment. As I measure where I and my family should stand on a particular issue, help me be fully convinced, mindful of You, mindful of others and always kind in my thoughts and actions towards others.

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