January 16, 2009
WHEN GOD SAYS DO OR DON’T
by Charles R. Swindoll
Now you say, "Well, what if we find a list of dos and don'ts in Scripture?" That is a very different issue! Any specified list in Scripture is to be obeyed without hesitation or question. That's an inspired list for all of us to follow, not someone's personal list. Let me encourage you to guide your life by any and all Scripture with all of your heart, regardless of how anyone else may respond. But when questionable things aren't specified in Scripture, it then becomes a matter of one's personal preference or convictions.
God has given His children a wonderful freedom in Christ, which means not only freedom from sin and shame but also a freedom in lifestyle, so that we can become models of His grace. Being free, enjoying your liberty, and allowing others the same enjoyment is hard to do if you're insecure. It is especially hard to do if you were raised by legalistic parents and led by legalistic pastors with an oversensitive conscience toward pleasing everyone. Those kinds of parents and pastors can be ultracontrolling, manipulative, and judgmental. Frequently, they use the Bible as a hammer to pound folks into submission rather than as a guide to lead others into grace. Sometimes it takes years for people who have been under a legalistic cloud to finally have the courage to walk freely in the grace of God. Unfortunately, some who finally grasp this freedom go so far in it they abuse the grace of God by flaunting their liberty.
That can be just as tragic as those who don't go far enough. To return to one of my favorite words, we need the balance.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.