Our faith is established and strengthened by the truth God has revealed in His word. The more we study and pray the more we begin to understand the very character of God. I have always stood fast by the truth of the scriptures. Knowing that when I speak of God, I am very careful that my words are in line with the very word of God. I knew I was correct, because my knowledge came directly from the scriptures.
But what happens when the truth that the word and the Spirit reveals to me confuses, discourages, or even pushes people away from fellowship with Him?
For example, I love tattoos. I have quite a few and have plans to get more, and I am able to do this without conviction because of what He has revealed to me within the scriptures and the fact that the Spirit is not telling me otherwise.
This confuses some people because they understand that to mark (tattoo) your skin is a direct violation of God’s word and refuse to do so because of what they know about God. If I was to encourage one of these people to get a tattoo based on what I know, then they would be putting their faith in my word, instead of God’s word. And if they disregard the Spirit’s conviction and get a tat anyways, I have now convinced this person to defy God as he understands Him, which is a sin.
The Spirit has been nudging me in regards to another example which I have had no choice but to take to heart, and that is the term “baby christian”.
Now this term spoken or thought with a humble heart and pure motives is in fact scripturally sound. (1 Peter 2:2) (1 Cor 3: 1-3). But does that make it ok to use as we see fit?
I have stood my ground with the scripture as my foundation on this topic, but recently the Spirit has convicted me about this due to the greatest commandment, which is love.
By using a term that I am completely comfortable with, I have been inadvertently casting doubt into the minds of new believers, to some appearing to be elevating myself above others, or even worse, confusing new believers that in order to become mature in Christ that they need to “do more” before they are an actual “christian”.
So then the question becomes, what is more important to God?…. What is the only requirement that He desires from us?…. to love.
All of a sudden by the conviction of the Spirit I am no longer able to use this term with a clear conscience. Not because I don’t still believe that there is nothing wrong with it, but because by doing so, even though my heart is from a humble place, it is a stumbling block to others because the words are speaking something else to them. To them the words speak judgment.
Then I ask myself, if I choose to not say this term, am I taking away from the scriptures to please others? So I have a choice, do I be right…. or do I edify and love?
Our faith is one uncompromising truth, but it’s not always black and white.
“Take heed to the guidance and conviction of the Spirit, for He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13)
“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” -1 Cor 8:9 -13
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Cor 13: 1-3
“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?” -1 Cor 3: 1-3
“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” – 1 Peter 2:2
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” -John 16:13
Written by: Justin Ludwig