When you become a Christian many are on fire for Christ. Then after a little while you start to feel like the "party pooper". Things you have resigned to God in the past, you start to notice in your christian friends. What do you do when you are called to speak up and encourage a friend? Do you obey or keep quiet?
I've talked to you about Drinking, Driving and Cursing in my past posts but I have not talked to you about how hard those things are to try and converse others to give up. Especially when other Christians you love have followed those rules, but do not understand the "submission to authority rules."
Romans 13: 1-7: Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Lets say you attend a conference and there is "a rule" when you sign up that no alcohol allowed on premises. You know this but you also know that no one who goes with you is going to get drunk and that no one will find out. What do you do?
Let me give you an example:
I would encourage you to not break the rules of the conference. To submit to that authority. But what if your roommates don't agree with you and are Christians as well. What do you do then?
This my friends is the hard question.
Many would say find new roommates or who cares go along with them, no one is being harmed? Another would say to talk to your roommates. I would encourage you to abstain and really think why your conscience is bothering you. Don't ignore that little voice that says "this is wrong".
I wish I could say that when I was presented with a situation like the one above, I spoke up and told my friends what was going on. But no, I longed to feel like part of the group. I longed to forget about the rules and just enjoy the moment. Although I abstained, I felt embarrassed that I had allowed the rules to be broken and had not spoken up. I even went as far as trying to throw the evidence away to make sure I was not seen as someone who broke the rules. I felt just as guilty, if not more because of my guilty conscience. Maybe this is what Aaron felt like when the Isrealites asked him to make a golden calf? He felt the pressure and even when confronted with it he made an excuse.
Exodus 32:21: He said to Aaron, "What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?" "Do not be angry, my lord," Aaron answered. "You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, 'Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him.' So I told them, 'Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.' Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!" Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies.
Just like the Isrealites when we break the rules we become an laughingstock to our enemies. We are looked upon as hypocrites. Ones who don't hold themselves to the "upward call of God" Often we give in to pressures around us and look to blame those who applied the pressure. The guilt and the transgression is squarely on our shoulders. We knew what we should do and did not do it. We were called to open our mouths and speak up.
Philippians 3:12: Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.I myself need to repent of my mistakes and remember that we can both start again. Today is a new day dedicated to following the Lord and learning to live to his standards.
"Gracious and Merciful father, forgive me when I went along with the crowd, my friends. Forgive me for wanting man's approval and compromising and doing what I knew to be wrong. Help me to find a way to talk to my friends and to speak up when I am supposed to. I pray that the consequences of that action will not cost me my friends. I pray that they hear what I have to say and respond to me in a loving manner. However, I know that just because the Holy Spirit tells me what I should say it doesn't mean I will not experience loss. Help me speak up knowing it might cost me my friendship. Not my will but yours be done. Amen."