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Greg holding our firstborn - 2002

Is My Husband (or Anyone Else) Bound by My Personal Convictions?

Greg holding our firstborn - 2002
Greg holding our firstborn – 2002

Some things are always sin. God gives us unchanging principles and commands in the Bible about these things:

  • The Ten Commandments (Ex. 20. – Have no other gods before God, make no graven images to worship, do not misuse God’s Name, honor your father and mother, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not covet, do not kill, do not lie. The Sabbath day observance for New Testament believers is now included under “disputable matters” in Romans 14 and Colossians 2:16.)
  • Love God with all your heart, mind, strength, and soul. (Matt. 22:37)
  • Love people and treat them as you would want to be treated. (Matt. 22:39, Luke 6:31)
  • Keep your promises and your word. (James 5:12)
  • Forgive wrong things people do to do whether they apologize or not (Matt. 6:14-15)
  • Do not hold on to bitterness. (Eph. 4:31)
  • Do not gossip or slander others. (2 Cor. 12:20)
  • Be humble, get rid of all pride. (James 4:6)
  • Honor your marriage vows. (He. 13:4)
  • Dress in a modest way that honors Christ, yourself, and others. (1 Tim. 2:9)
  • Do not get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit. (Eph. 5:18)
  • Make disciples of all nations. (Matt. 28:19)
  • Take care of the widows, orphans, the poor, the oppressed, the sick, and needy. (James 1:27, Isaiah 10:2, Matt. 25:31-46)
  • Do not argue or complain. (Phil. 2:14-16)
  • Honor those in authority over you unless they ask you to clearly sin against God. (Eph. 5:22-33, Romans 13:1-7, Heb. 13:17)

These kinds of things (and many others) are unchanging biblical principles and commands. But some things are not so black and white – God gives us more liberty in certain areas that are a matter of personal conviction. These are things each believer must privately, prayerfully consider and attempt to do what he/she believes God desires him/her to do.

It is my understanding that there are two types of conviction:

1. The conviction of the Holy Spirit about sin in a believer’s life.

2. Personal convictions about areas that are not clear sin in Scripture.

Please read Romans 14 this week when you get a chance.

GRAY AREAS ARE FOR ME TO PRAYERFULLY DECIDE FOR MYSELF – these are matters of personal opinion and where we are in our personal faith walk and understanding. I do not mean that God “is confused” about what is right and wrong.

Romans 14 says that those with strong faith must bear with those who have weak faith in these issues, and not create a stumbling block for others. What we decide about our personal convictions are things that we don’t have the right to force on others – these are private matters. I need to be sure I am acting in love and not causing others to stumble. 

Just because I have one personal conviction doesn’t mean my husband (or anyone else) is “wrong” if he has a different conviction in an area of personal preference that is not about biblical principle.

God commands us as wives to honor our husbands’ leadership, unless our husbands are asking us to clearly sin. It is important that we go by God’s definition of sin in His Word, not our own convictions in gray areas where believers should have freedom to make their own decisions.

Just because someone else, like my husband, has a conviction, doesn’t mean I have to have the same conviction. But – I do need to be willing to honor my husband’s leadership. Thankfully, I can honor him without having to agree with him on every issue.

A few examples of areas of personal conviction:

– Calvinism vs. Armenianism.

– Where to send children to school (homeschooling, private school, public school).

– Whether to abstain completely from alcohol or to drink a little alcohol occasionally (without getting drunk, of course).

– What church/denomination to attend.

– My exact boundaries with the opposite sex and how I decide to guard my heart and my marriage.

– How often to go to church.

– How best to discipline and raise children.

– What it means to dress modestly, how we do our hair/makeup, what we wear.

– What music to listen to.

– How much money to give to the church and to those in need.

– Whether to celebrate certain holidays and how to celebrate them.

– How to have time with God.

– Whether to own a TV or not.

– How to eat in a way that honors God.

– Some personal priorities.

– How to pray, when to pray, and whether to pray out loud with others or primarily in private.

– What translation of the Bible to read.

– How exactly to be a godly steward of your time, resources, talents, and money.

We get ourselves in a lot of trouble when we insist that our husbands, or other people, must abide by all of our personal convictions. We also may get in a lot of trouble if we think we have to live by other people’s convictions. We are all bound by God’s Word and His commands to us as believers. So we would all need to be sure that we are not violating God’s principles in our motives, thoughts, words, decisions, and actions. But there is room for different believers to have different convictions and preferences about issues where God’s Word is silent.

  • Sometimes, we might even think that if our husbands don’t live by our convictions, they are sinning. Then we may believe that we are free to go against them because we believe they are sinning. Let’s use great caution here, my dear sisters!

It is really important that we know for sure that our husbands are truly sinning before we decide to not honor their leadership!

Remember that God’s instructions for us to respect and submit to our husbands “as to the Lord,” are commands. That is an unchanging biblical principle for which God will call us into account. I need to be very cautious and sure I am hearing God’s voice clearly before I would go against my husband in a matter.

NONE OF US HAVE THE RIGHT TO VIOLATE GOD’S PRINCIPLES

If my husband wants me to have an abortion (murder), rob a bank, commit income tax fraud, lie for him to the police to cover up his crime, join a cult, put him above Christ in my heart, commit an unethical or immoral act with him, watch porn with him, steal something for him, have an affair, get drunk, have a threesome, work as a stripper, parade my body immodestly in front of other men, sell our children into slavery, beat our children (not just a spanking), or these kinds of things – I cannot cooperate with those requests. I must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).

SECRET TO UNITY

Let’s focus on the things we do have in common with our husbands if they are also believers.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph. 5:1-6)

In Christ, unity is not about agreement in all the little gray areas, but about agreement in the most important areas. We can have unity without conformity.

Even if our husbands are not believers, we can act in unity with them as much as possible unless they want us to violate God’s unchanging principles or commands in Scripture. We can give grace in areas of preference.

AREAS OF PREFERENCE CAN VARY BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL BELIEVERS

I believe it is good for me to respectfully, humbly, gently share my convictions with my husband, particularly if my husband is a believer. And I can share my desires with my husband, even if he is not a believer. But it is not fair for me to accuse my husband of sin if he does not share every one of my convictions or the passion with which I hold to any of my convictions.

We each have freedom in Christ to have our own convictions about the true gray areas. We don’t have freedom where the Bible specifically speaks and labels something as sin or as obedience. In those areas, we must all submit to Christ and to His Word. But in the areas where Christ gives freedom, we must also give freedom – not condemnation. It is not my right as a believer or as a wife to determine if something is sinful or not for my husband in an area of personal preference. God is the only one who has the authority to decide that something is sin.

A NOTE ABOUT MY FEELINGS/EMOTIONS:

My husband is not bound by my feelings. I can share my feelings. They are important. A godly husband will certainly take his wife’s feelings into account. But my husband is bound to honor God’s Word and His principles over my feelings. Thankfully, in Christ, I am not even bound by my feelings but can be filled and controlled by God’s Spirit. I don’t have to be in bondage to my feelings and emotions.

SHARE:

If reading about someone else’s convictions causes you angst (like the post about makeup last week, or posts about modesty or other gray areas) – I’d love to talk with you about that!

I don’t want us to do anything out of fear, worldly guilt, or shame. My desire is that we might all be motivated purely by God’s love – that we might do everything we do because God’s Spirit fills us, we love God, we love ourselves in a godly way, and we love others. 

WARNING – enter the comments section on this post at your own risk! I can see why God instructs us to keep our personal convictions private after seeing many of the comments on this post the first few days. It is easy for the topic of specific personal convictions to create strife, division, confusion, and contention. I really don’t want this thread to be about people’s personal convictions and why they have them – but rather – how we can support and honor our husbands when we have different personal convictions in these disputable areas.

MORE SCRIPTURE ABOUT DISPUTABLE AREAS:

Here is another passage of Scripture that can be helpful as we seek to honor God in these areas where we have freedom (but others might get tripped up) that relates very much to the disputable areas of Romans 14 – the primary emphasis is not our individual freedom in Christ, but our love for others, what is best for others, and to do what we can in order to keep other people with weaker consciences from stumbling:

I Corinthians 10:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience,  for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience?  If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. I Corinthians 10:23-33

——–

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. I Corinthians 6:12

142 thoughts on “Is My Husband (or Anyone Else) Bound by My Personal Convictions?

  1. You said—“Sometimes, we might even think that if our husbands don’t live by our convictions, they are sinning.”

    is the opposite true or does it fall into that gray category? — if a wife doesn’t live by her husband’s convictions, is she sinning?”

    1. esbee,

      That is a great question! We don’t have to have the same convictions as our husbands. But, God does command us to willingly honor our husbands’ leadership. So, if a husband and wife cannot agree which church denomination to attend, then the wife can honor and obey Christ by honoring her husband’s preference. Or if a husband and wife don’t agree about how to calculate the tithe, the wife can share her convictions, but then honor her husband’s decision if they cannot agree – knowing he will be accountable for the final decision to God.

      If a husband asks his wife to do something that truly violates her conscience – wear a bikini in public and she believes she should be dressed modestly – then I believe a wife can say, “I am glad to wear that around you, but I just can’t dress immodestly around other men. I don’t want to create a stumbling block for anyone – and I believe that would be a big stumbling block for some men.”

      Does that make sense?

      Much love!
      April

  2. Chari,

    True, Romans 14 is not about every possible topic or issue in the world. There are many things that are always biblical principles that can never be violated. Those things are always very black and white.

    The topics I am talking about are things where the Bible is silent and there is no specific command. It would be wrong of me to label something as sin where God did not label that thing as sin. There are some topics where we have freedom to disagree and have differing convictions – like topics in the list I shared in the post.

    I do believe that God can lead us in His truth as we seek Him with all our hearts.

    Thanks very much for sharing! 🙂 Much love to you!

    1. I was very much like you and believed the Bible was silent on some issues, but I’ve come to realize God actually gave us everything we need to know for every area of our lives in His Word. If we seek His truth and have ears to hear, He will give us answers. Sadly, our flesh and sinful nature want to make choices apart from God and His Word. You listed quite a few topics that I’m so thankful God gives us His instructions on and it’s black and white. If you want Scripture regarding any of the topics you listed, I would do my best to share with you.

      1. I’d love to hear where God directs to homeschooling versus public school, kjv vs. other versions, not to use alcohol at all, not even to cook, that women shouldn’t wear pants at all….. Thanks for the information

      2. Hi, Chari. I think there are a number of issues the Bible is unclear on. A website that explains this really well is http://www.crosswalk.com/church/pastors-or-leadership/ask-roger/personal-convictions-vs-biblical-truth.html

        “A dramatic difference exists between biblical truths and personal convictions. Too often we Christians confuse the two. We live and die for biblical truth. On the other hand, personal convictions are not nearly as foundational to living out the Christian life. Convictions have more to do with our consciences which are trained to respond one way or another to particular situations and issues.” Romans shows that personal convictions are often a function of personal spiritual maturity (what is sin for one is not necessarily sin for another).

        I grew up in a home where it was considered a sin to wear nail polish, to cut your hair as a woman, and to pierce your ears. For my mother, this would have been a sin because for her it was an issue of vanity. For me, it’s not an issue at all. I think it’s a matter of the heart and the reasons for which you undertake the activity. Another example would be military service – some Christians see this is a sin because they say Jesus would never have fired a gun at someone. Others say it’s completely in line with Biblical principles and point to the comparisons of Christians to soldiers and how there were Christian soldiers in the early church.

        If all is black and white, it would be terribly hard to submit to your husband if your conviction was different than his – it would therefore be a right or wrong decision each time you disagreed, and if his conviction was different, you could say that he was asking you to sin, and therefore justify following your own conviction each time. I think April has it right – if it’s a difference of personal conviction, then it’s okay to follow the husband’s lead. But if it is really a sin, then you obey God over man.

        Sometimes when our personal convictions are very strong, it’s really hard to know the difference.

        1. Hi Leah, What a blessing to grow up in a home where you were raised with a caring, loving and most of all Godly parents. I was raised in a somewhat “religious” home with no Spiritual guidance regarding anything Biblical.

          I had shared the following and believe it applies here as well. One thought regarding “conviction”. I’ve often wondered, for myself, why I use to do some of the things I did even after I was saved. Why didn’t I just turn from all my wicked ways when I got saved. Because God continually sanctifies me to make me more like Him and less like me. But He doesn’t give me His truth until I can handle it. I know there is a vast amount of truth that is still waiting for God to reveal to me. So, that doesn’t mean that just because I don’t have a personal conviction regarding “insert anything here” right now, that it isn’t truth to a Holy God; I’m just not ready to receive that truth in my sanctification process. The answer lies in the Scripture you had given in your original post. I am weak in the faith in those areas and God knows I wouldn’t be able to handle His truth. But it’s still truth even though I don’t have a personal conviction…yet.

          Question for you. Do you believe everything is black and white to a Holy God? Do you believe our Creator has an absolute right and wrong in all things or do you believe He is unclear on some things?

          1. Hi, Chari.

            I believe there are absolutes, but not ONLY absolutes. I would refer to 1 Cor 10:23: “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.” So no, I do not believe all things are black and white when we consider the activity itself. Whether we give 11% tithe or 12% tithe is not a matter of right and wrong – it is a matter of heart. If it is not expressly forbidden in the Bible, then we need to seek God. We may find scripture that speaks to the issue elsewhere, but if not, then the activity is “lawful” but it may not be the best decision. An example would be circumsion in the early church. Paul very clearly says it makes no difference to God – it’s a personal choice based on your heart. Same with marriage – he says it is “better” to stay single – so is it a sin to marry? Of course not.

            I would find it impossible to tell a single mother that she needs to homeschool her children because otherwise she is sinning. Or tell a child just learning to read that he/she is sinning by not using the “most accurate” translation and needs to ask for forgiveness from God. (I’ve studied using the highly accurate translations after formal education and it still gave me a headache – how could we tell a child that this is an absolute, black and white, issue and they are sinning by using a children’s Bible?). Absolute, by definition, means it will not vary depending on culture, age, etc.

            To your statement above, I cannot believe that God forces us to “sin”. If you say there are ONLY absolutes, but God only shows us those absolutes on His timing, then we are sinning until He decides to reveal them (it must be sin if it’s an absolute – it cannot change with time and therefore is always either right or wrong). This cannot be true. God will never force us to sin.

            All the best!

          2. Hi Leah, I went back and read through all of the comments I have posted and I don’t see anywhere that I have used the word “sin”. I apologize if I made it seem that way. I have no authority to tell anyone what sin is and what sin is not; but I am instructed to share the truth with others. “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” Ephesians 4:25

            As far as us sinning until God decides to reveal truth to us, praise God for His grace and mercy towards us in our ignorance! There is Scripture that talks about this, but I’m at a loss at finding it right now. I will continue to look when I get a chance. I just wanted to take a minute to respond to you because according to your response to me, you are under the assumption I am calling many things sin and I am not. I didn’t want there to be a misunderstanding.

            I would be more than happy to continue discussing this with you because A. I love a great discussion that challenges me and B. It makes me dig in God’s Word for answers.

          3. Chari,

            I was under the impression that you were talking about sin, as well. If things are all black and white and absolute, there is no gray area, then it sounds to me like all of those things would be sin. I think I am still not quite understanding. But I want to try to understand! Thank you so much for sharing!

          4. It’s one thing not to know (ignorance); it’s another thing to know and not to do (rebellion). The first is not sin. The second is sin. God does expect a lot from His people because He has given us so much. It’s not self-righteous or legalistic to be obedient to the God that has given us what we don’t deserve; eternal life free from hell.

            Regarding “sin”, the good news for those of us that have been born again and washed in the blood of the Lamb, is our sin is as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). God already knew, before the foundation of the world, what sin I would commit today, next week, and in ten years (God willing I’m still here) and He loves me despite my sin. Now, I’m in no way saying we have a license to sin; in fact, as Christians, we despise it when we sin and unfortunately will never be free from sinning in this life. Galatians 5:13 says, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Liberty is being humble before a Holy God because of the great grace He has given me and knowing we are free from the yoke of bondage! Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” So, if we could, let’s for just a minute take the word “sin” out of the conversation because it seems a lot of people are caught up in what is sin and what sin isn’t. Let’s instead look at the word obedience; which means to be in submission to authority.

            This could spark a whole new topic, but let’s look at why God is sanctifying His children through obedience. Matthew 13:8, “But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” As Christians, God is preparing us for our Heavenly home through our obedience to Him and His Word and through the shaping of our character; to look more like Him and less like us (the fruits of the Spirit). I desire to be a hundredfold Christian (even though I won’t know until Heaven which I am), so whenever God gives me revelation, through His Word and the Spirit, it is my desire to obey Him.
            So, one example. When God clearly shows me first through the nudging of the Spirit and then in His Word about dressing modestly, I had to have my stinky flesh die and be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit and dress accordingly. Then, several months later, someone shared the book with me, Dressing for the Lord, which was such an encouragement to me! Was I in rebellion before that? No. I was in ignorance. But that was not a gray area to a Holy God; it was always an absolute truth to Him. Everything is an absolute truth to Him; we are the ones that are living in “gray areas” until we are ready to receive His truth. Because we live in a fallen world and none of us will be made perfect in this life, our sanctification processes will look different. One Christian may be sanctified in the area of drinking alcohol, dressing modestly, church attendance, and not having a TV in their home while another Christian may be sanctified in separating himself/herself from the worldly holidays, homeschooling their children, and serving in a nursing home each week. Each one of us are being sanctified differently, but again each area is not “gray” to a holy God; only to us. Praise God He has grace and mercy for me if I’m a single mom and unable to homeschool or if my husband insists on having a TV to relax. I believe we are on the same page on each of us being sanctified differently because you said much of the same things in your comment from last night. I just want to reiterate, just because I haven’t been sanctified in an area yet (or maybe never will be) doesn’t mean it’s a gray area to God…He has absolute right and wrongs, but gives us grace in this fallen world.

            Sadly, I’m still in ignorance to many things because God knows I couldn’t handle His absolute truth in those areas. Again, that doesn’t mean I’m living in sin; I’m in ignorance to the truth. I will never be ready to receive all of God’s truths this side of Heaven, but praise God He loves me anyway! However, I humbly pray that when God gives me the next revelation of His amazing truth, I will be obedient and submit myself to Him because I love Him more than the thing He desires to change in me.

            I have really gone on and on in this comment and I apologize for it being so lengthy. Please know, I’m not so good at articulating and I apologize if what I’m sharing isn’t making any sense. It is me that struggles with getting what is in my heart and mind out into understandable words; it isn’t you. That is why earlier in these comments I recommended the book Dressing for the Lord for anyone sincerely interested in what the Bible says about dressing modestly; the author uses Scripture throughout the book to expresses himself easily and in a clear, effective language. Blessings.

          5. Thanks for sharing, Chari – and thank you to everyone who is participating. I’m thankful that we can share our ideas and discuss these weighty matters in a spirit of love and respect. I pray that God might help each of us to see His truth clearly.

            I love what you are saying about sanctification, my sister.

      3. Chari,

        I do believe God will direct and lead us and make things clear in areas where the Bible is not explicit as we seek to be sensitive to and obedient to His Spirit. But I have a hard time seeing where the Bible addresses every possible topic or mandates specific commands about every possible thing.

        You are most welcome to share any verses you believe will shed light on this.

        Thanks so much. 🙂

        1. I shared some Scriptures on some of the topics that prayinglikehannah has asked about. I hope they are a help to you as well.

          One thought regarding “conviction”. I’ve often wondered, for myself, why I use to do some of the things I did even after I was saved. Why didn’t I just turn from all my wicked ways when I got saved. Because God continually sanctifies me to make me more like Him and less like me. But He doesn’t give me His truth until I can handle it. I know there is a vast amount of truth that is still waiting for God to reveal to me. So, that doesn’t mean that just because I don’t have a personal conviction regarding “insert anything here” right now, that it isn’t truth to a Holy God; I’m just not ready to receive that truth in my sanctification process. The answer lies in the Scripture you had given in your original post. I am weak in the faith in those areas and God knows I wouldn’t be able to handle His truth. But it’s still truth even though I don’t have a personal conviction…yet.

          Thank you for taking the time to visit with me; I really appreciate it.

          1. Chari,

            True – sanctification is a process. And God does reveal more and more to us over time in areas where we didn’t even notice He was speaking before sometimes. That is certainly true in my life.

            Thank you for sharing with us. 🙂

          2. Chari,

            We do have freedom in Christ; freedom from legalism, freedom from sin, freedom from a works salvation, etc. You mention many things that are a Christian’s freedom in Christ.

            Take alcohol; we are told to take a LITTLE for our stomach’s sake, yet be sober. Therefore, you can drink some alcohol as long as you remain sober and that varies for every person. There’s not ONE verse that states a Christian is not suppose to drink any alcohol unless they are an elder.

            Some dresses can be VERY immodest. My husband is fine with me wearing pants. I don’t wear them skin tight and I am much more comfortable in them. I KNOW that I am not in sin. Everyone who knows me would tell you that I dress modestly.

            Yes, I believe with my whole heart that Christian parents should NOT send their children to public schools and at this point in my life, it would be sin for me to send them there unless my husband insisted. Then I would send them covered in prayer and the whole time they were home, I would fill their minds with God’s Word and good things.

            I teach women constantly to be keepers at home. I don’t think this is a gray area with God but if a woman’s husband insists that she work or she has no choice but to work to put food on her table, I would NEVER say that she is in sin.

            Our works don’t save us. God saves us the minute we believe. Yes, I teach walking in obedience to the Lord every single day should be our goal but on many of these things, there are exceptions and for these we must allow God to be the judge, not us. We teach God’s Truth clearly and then allow Him to work in other’s lives.

        2. Reading all the comments about the “evils” of tv, drinking, and the modest way to to dress I need to put in my 2 cents —–

          I have seen Christian families that allowed alchohol, tv and girls wearing pants in their homes and their children went to public school. The kids grew up fine.

          I have seen christian homes where parents do not allow drinking, tv and only modest dress in their homes, homeschooled or Christian school and their children grew up with problems, divorce, immorality, babies out of wedlock, etc.

          I read the many sad stories over at Recovering Grace, where people who followed Gothard’s teaching to a T–, with his emphasis on outward (appearance, tv, drinking, women submitting to husbands) had nothing but misery and abuse in their lives.

          On other blogs I read about those who became atheist because following those things did not bring “God’s promises” of happiness and wealth, etc.

          In my daily life, I know people who have little of the way of outward appearance, they may drink, they may cuss, they live poorly and suffer daily tribulations, yet they know who their savior is.

          I have come to the conclusion that each person has to live the life God gave them and work out their own salvation in their personal walk with God. For example, If I started to do what peaceful wife does because peaceful wife gets so much blessing from the way she lives can lead to problems of me bypassing God’s leading ln my life. I would be following her and not God.

          1. Esbee,

            True – personal convictions are not the Holy Spirit. And personal convictions do not bring abundant life. If I follow rules – my own or someone else’s – that doesn’t mean I know God or that God is working in me. What we all desperately need more than anything is the power of God’s Spirit working in us to radically transform us to be regenerated and more and more like Christ.

            I’m so thankful we have Scripture and we have the guidance of God’s Spirit – He is able to make things plain to us and able to direct us. We don’t have to follow a person to try to be like them, ultimately this is all about Jesus working in each of our lives to draw us to Himself. 🙂

      4. Chari,

        Romans 14:1 says, “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.” Verses 2 through 6 talk about 2 disputable matters of Paul’s day; eating or abstaining from meat and whether a person considers one day sacred or everyday alike. Verse 1 is the topic sentence and states the principle. Vs. 2 – 6 were the example of the day.

        This passage clearly says that there are disputable matters in the Christian faith. I believe Paul was instructing the Romans to stop nitpicking about non-essentials and give others the freedom to live out their differences. He then calls them to a higher purpose of love, respecting others personal convictions and at times, refrain from certain activities that may scandalize another’s faith.

        It sounds like you have many strong convictions about living the Christian life. According to this passage, for you to violate them would be sin. It would also be sin for a brother or sister in Christ to do something in your presence that would violate your conscience. That would not be acting in love. According to verses 3 and 4, it would also be a sin for you to treat people with contempt who do not hold the same level of conviction about things that are disputable.

        Verse 6 explains that when people eat or abstain from meat, they do it out of devotion to the Lord. How they regard certain days is also done for the Lord. The issue is freedom in worship and devotion to the Lord.

        1. Thank you, Joe. These are good verses for a conversation like this. I think it’s interesting to see, too, that verse 2 shows that the weaker faith-filled man is the one who is not in good conscience able to eat meat. It seems to imply that the one with greater or stronger faith has more freedom to take part in “disputable matters”. I think there are a couple of things to consider here:

          1). As our faith increases in the finished work of Christ and all that He accomplished for us on the cross and as we discover more and more that we are totally acceptable to God in Christ based on His work alone, we will not be as burdened by some of these disputable areas.

          2). For those whose faith allows them to take part in “disputable matters”, it is important to remember that it is only God that has brought them to this level of faith and it is important to not get frustrated with those with weaker faith.

          Saying that, I have a couple of questions….

          If I have neighbors who believe that modest dressing is fully covering your arms, dresses past knees, no pants, etc…..am I as a Christian bound to their convictions? I guess if they are distressed I don’t know it and so therefore, am not bound. If they were to voice any distress to me, then I would be? I am seriously asking….I have struggled with these verses and this situation.

          Also, it has been very hard for me at times to hear some people’s convictions that don’t seem to be based on the Bible at all (other than twisting scriptures to fit)….there seems to be a line for me where it seems that huge portions of the New Testament are being discounted and set aside to promote ideas of godly living that aren’t there at all in Scripture – or worse yet, saying that we are still under the Law when it’s very clear from the New Testament that we are not under the Law anymore. This, to me, seems like it just totally discounts what Christ did for us on the cross.

          April, I know this is really off-topic, so if you think this is inappropriate for the purpose of your blog, I totally understand! 🙂

        2. So, how does this translate into submission to our husbands? I have convictions my husband does not share, and I have wondered for a long time what to do about those things. Keep the Sabbath while he does not? Eat Kosher while he does not? Wear that bikini that he likes but I just cannot stand? I want to be obedient to God, and I want to be respectful to my husband in front of our children (and elsewhere). There are times when I just cannot see how to do both.

          1. Sealebacon,
            It is my understanding that you may respectfully share your convictions, but I do not believe you may force your convictions on your husband. If your conscience is truly violated, you may have to say, “I just cannot, in good conscience, do this particular thing.” For instance, knowing what I know now about how many men think and what it means that they are so visual, if my husband wanted me to wear a bikini in public, I would probably have to say, “I want so much to honor you, but I beleive I would be creating a sinful stumbling block for my brothers in Christ if I wore a bikini in public. I am fine with wearing it around you in private. But I personally believe I need a tshirt and shorts over my swimsuit if I am in public.”

            Eating Kosher is not required of New Testament believers, but maybe you prefer to eat Kosher for health reasons. If you are eating Kosher to try to earn favor with God, that would be something to wrestle wtih in prayer, to check your motives and understanding of Grace vs Works. But if you just want to eat Kosher, I beleive you have freedom to do so, but your husband is not required to do so by Scripture as a disciple of Christ – as evidenced by the dream God gave to Peter in Acts.

            You can share that you want to not work on the Sabbath in order to rest and worship God, and that this is your conviction. What kinds of things does he want to do instead? Maybe we can talk about some approaches?

            Most of all, I pray that you will be sensitive to God’s Word and to His truth and His Spirit. I pray for His wisdom for you! 🙂

        3. Joe,

          I think this is very clear and helpful about those issues which are disputable matters. There are some matters that are not disputable – clearly. But Scripture does say that there are some that are.

          I want to uphold Scripture and I do not want to try to make Scripture say things that it does not say.

          Thank you for this.

  3. Hi April – great post!! I like what you said about sharing our desires with our husbands who are not believers, I decided to submit to my husbands leadership in tithing. Praying and seeking Gods truth on this matter before taking it to him, I knew we wouldn’t agree on the amount but also know Gods desire for us to submit to their leadership.

    1. Melanie,

      I’m glad that was helpful. Unbelieving husbands may not understand our convictions – but we can still ask for what we desire. I like that you are seeking God’s wisdom and power before talking to your husband. And I love that you are willing to honor God by honoring your husband’s leadership in this area. I believe God will use this for much good in your husband’s life! 🙂

  4. This is something i have been thinking about alot lately. I think the hard part for me is detrermining what is actually a “gray” area. there are alot of things that God doesnt specifically command that we know we should or should not do in order that He be glorified. I think much confusion comes when people are very zealous and passionate about their convictions and teach them as the truth and dont do what you did april and state tht this is a personal conviction. When you are raised or attend a church for a long period of time that is legalistic or just uphold ceratin convictions, your conscience has sort of been shaped and youi can feel “guilt” when you violate these things. There is a certain area I have been asking God if the way i feel about not participating in a certain activity is guilt due to what i have been taught or conviction from His Holy Spirit?

    1. Jessica,

      I agree – I think that it can be confusing to determine what the gray areas are at times. This requires us to spend much time in prayer and Bible study, asking God to help us handle His Word rightly. There are many who mishandle His Word. This is also part of “testing the spirits” of those who teach God’s Word – and rejecting the things that are not of Him.

      It is possible to create an overly sensitive conscience through a legalistic church or through parents who were very, very strict. Some of us can do this all on our own, as well!

      What does your husband say about this area? Perhaps he can shed some light on it?

      Much love to you! I pray for God’s wisdom for you, my sister. 🙂

  5. Hi April,

    I am a little confused by one statement made in your post; “Whether to tithe or not”. I have never heard tithing referred to as a personal conviction. Could you please elaborate? There are so many scriptures on tithing that I am not sure how it could be considered a gray area. Malachi 3:8-10, Proverbs 3:9, Leviticus 27:30, Deuteronomy 14:22 Thanks so much.

    1. Natalie,
      Great question! Tithing was required in the Old Testament. The nation was a theocracy at first, so that 10% tithe covered the upkeep of the tabernacle/temple and priests (which was also the government for a long time, as well).

      In the New Testament, I don’t know of a command that believers are to tithe. There are commands that those who preach the gospel are to receive their living from the gospel. There are commands to help those in need. We are to give ALL we have to Christ, because it is all His, and we are simply stewards. There are references to cheerful giving and sacrificial giving to those who are in need.

      Many people still do tithe. My husband and I do, because that is what we are convicted to do – to show that we appreciate that all we have belongs to God. Some people give much more than 10%. Some people don’t tithe. But, I think they are missing out on a lot of spiritual blessings. I would love, one day (with my husband’s approval, support, and enthusiasm) to give a lot more than a tithe to God’s kingdom’s work and to those in need.

      Does that help at all? 🙂

      1. April, I just want to comment on your last paragraph. You say that you would love to give a lot more than a tithe to God’s kingdom, but you already are! Monetary tithes aside (I’ll stay out of that debate but if we don’t give our finances, who will fund God’s work or even just pay the bills to keep our churches open?), we can also give God our time and energy and service as a “tithe” and your work here is a wonderful example of that! So you’re already doing it. 🙂

        1. Leah,

          I agree that believers ARE called to give. To me, that is not a question. The question is – how much? In my understanding, a tithe (10%) would probably be the minimum. But there is a lot of debate about that – and I will leave that for each couple to prayerfully consider.

          You are very right, we can give of our time, ourselves, our talents, our spiritual gifts, our love, our prayers. Really – as believers in Christ – we are His servants, ready to do anything He asks us to do at any moment in every area of our lives. We as New Testament believers are called to MUCH generosity and giving in every way.

          We have made sacrifices so that I can just work in the pharmacy one day per week or so. I am so thankful to be able to be home with our children when they are home from school. And I am so thankful to be able to do this ministry. I am thankful for the time God and Greg allow me to spend here. I believe with all my heart that God has called me to do this – and I am extremely grateful for Greg’s support.

          I can never repay God for all that He has done for me! I want to give ALL of myself to Him and ALL that I have. I want to be fully available for Him to use in any way. I just want to know Him, to love Him, to please Him, and to be useful in His kingdom – whatever His assignment for me might be.

          Thank you for bringing up the point that there are many ways to give! 🙂

          1. We are often so guilty of not giving for reasons that are not Christ-like at all. I am so guilty of this! I don’t know how many times I have battled with “do I really need to give this much?” on the basis of no longer being able to buy a pair of shoes I wanted or buy a nicer car. I have really worked to understand and acknowledge the motives in my heart. I was told when I was a kid that I should give until money no longer mattered to me. While that could certainly be taken out of context (I wouldn’t condone putting one’s family at risk), it has a good point about making money an idol. I have also tried to justify giving in other ways in order to avoid giving my precious dollars, and been convicted of selfishness on that front. I also found that as I gave more, God would bless me – financially! I would go grocery shopping and find nearly everything on my list to be on sale, I would start to find more enjoyment in non-material things than material ones, I would find discounts that could not be otherwise explained, etc. It’s still a struggle to give generously but I know God blesses this faithfulness.

            It’s a touchy subject, though! Especially when our culture views money as security or status. I’ve worked with several other cultures where money is not so important, and their perspective on giving is so different from ours.

          2. Leah,

            I am increasingly discontent with our culture’s attitude toward stuff and materialism. I long to give so much more to God!

            Honestly, I was just praying this morning about this – but will need to wait on God to lead me through Greg. If it were completely up to me, my dream (or convictions) at this point in my faith walk would be to:

            – sell our TVs
            – give away/sell most of our kids’ toys
            – give away/sell most of our clothes
            – sell my jewelry (except for wedding rings)
            – sell our house and buy a much smaller one where we might not even have a mortgage at all
            – we already have old cars with no car payment – love that!
            – have zero debt (the only debt we currently have is our mortgage, which is relatively small, but I would love to have NO debt)
            – give up our cell phones
            – give up video games in our home
            – have a much more simple lifestyle and get rid of 1/2-3/4 of our possessions
            – focus more on time with God
            – experience much greater financial freedom to be able to give to those in need and to be able to buy necessities without taking out loans
            – give much more to orphans, the poor, those facing disasters, the spread of the gospel, etc…
            – focus more on ministering together as a family to others
            – focus more on playing together and being present with each other as a family without electronic distractions
            – focus much more on Bible reading/study and family prayer

            These things are my dream! They are my deeply held convictions. I believe they would be honoring to God. But – I can’t rush ahead. I will pray and wait on God and my husband. Hard to wait! But I want to honor my husband and God.

            Thank you for sharing some of the ways God blessed you when you gave more. That is so cool!

          3. Chari,

            There are many things that are moral decisions. But not all things are moral choices. Some things are amoral – the issue is how we use them or our motives. And some principles don’t have specifics about exactly how we are to obey them in every possible scenario. Some things are a matter of our heart and motives. If we are not acting in faith, then something is sin for us – for example.

            whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. Romans 14:23

            This is an example of one gray area where a believer with strong faith could do one thing and it not be sin, but a believer with weak faith might do the same thing and it would be sin.

            There are tons of issues that I can relate to about what you are sharing where I didn’t have convictions about them in the past, but as I have grown, God has shown me more things, and I see where His Word speaks and now I do have convictions based on His Word.

            But there are some things that are not specifically right or wrong or that may depend on our degree of faith. How we use our time, what music we listen to, how we dress specifically. And there are some areas where sincere believers differ in interpretation of Scripture. These are things we yield to God as we come to Him and we seek to please Him. But I still do not agree that all things are completely black and white for believers. All moral things are completely black or white to God – although, we may have confusion about them here. But some things are not moral decisions. It is not a matter of “God being unclear” on those things – but that He gives us some areas where we are free to have our own preferences or convictions.

            For example – God’s Word does command women to dress modestly. Maybe I decide to wear skirts/dresses. God’s Word does not say how many inches the hem must be on my skirt/dress. That is a gray area, from all that I can see.

            The homeschooling/public school/private school thing. All parents are responsible to teach and train their children in the way God would have them to go. That is across the board – God’s principle. If my husband doesn’t want me to homeschool or send our children to private school, I believe I can still train my children in godliness even if they go to public school – even if that may not be ideal in every way. And I can pray that God will direct my husband if God is not happy with his decision. Daniel and his friends went to the King’s pagan school in the book of Daniel – and God used that to accomplish His will. There is not a command that says “You may not ever allow anyone but yourself to teach your children anything.” Now, if parents see that their children are being indoctrinated with ungodly teaching in public school or a private school and pray and believe God desires them to homeschool, that is awesome. But each parent will answer to God for their decisions and for whether they trained their children in godliness according to God’s standards.

            I believe I could support my personal conviction against TV with verses that talk about not being polluted by worldliness. Does that mean my husband is sinning to have the family watch a program about animals on Animal Planet? I don’t believe he is.

            Scripture doesn’t specify whether Christians should or should not celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving. The Bible is silent about that. Are there sinful ways and ungodly ways to celebrate these things? Yes. Absolutely. Is it possible for believers to celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving in ways that honor and glorify God in their actions and motives? Yes, absolutely.

            I am definitely aware that there are many areas that are black and white. But I don’t think we can totally escape some gray areas where God gives us freedom to make choices.

            We may have to agree to disagree on this topic, my precious sister. But I am open to prayerfully consider anything you may want to share.

          4. Just thinking a bit more…

            There are many places where Jesus tells His followers to sell their possessions and give to the poor. But there is not an explicit description of how many possessions to sell, or what exactly to keep. Certainly a family does need a place to stay and some cooking pots and plates and some clothes. I don’t believe Jesus is saying that believers must give up every single worldly possession. But if we were to sell our house, our land, and a lot of our stuff – what size house should we have? Jesus doesn’t say. Would we need to live in a tent? He doesn’t say. He doesn’t specify if we should rent or own. He doesn’t specify where we should live. He doesn’t say how many objects we may own. There is freedom to give out of our love for Christ according to what each believer hears God speak to him/her.

            I believe that as our commitment and devotion to Christ deepens and matures, we will be more willing to give up worldly possessions. There is definitely a process and a journey.

          5. You have shared a great deal in your comment and I would love to try my best to respond back since you ended with being open…which I truly appreciate; but Iwant to respect anyone that feels they have heard enough of me sharing (because the Holy Spirit does a way way way better job than I do!).

            As far as believers having a different interpretation of Scripture, that is when we each are guilty of not allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture and listing to the guidance of the Holy Spirit because our own interpretation is of little value. “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” 2 Peter 1:20 That, in fact, is where all the gray areas come from…our own personal interpretation of God’s Word (which God warns against in His Word).

            You said that God gives us some areas where we are free to have our own preferences or convictions; but then we are doing our will and not His will when we choose our own way. What do I mean by this? You said it the best in your comment. “For example – God’s Word does command women to dress modestly. Maybe I decide to wear skirts/dresses.” You “decided”. We need to let God decide and when we seek Him, He will direct our paths. Again, I highly recommend the book Dressing for the Lord because you have a blog where you are instructing woman and one day will have to stand before God and give an account for the direction you gave them. (I feel like that may be harsh, but that is not my heart; I just want to caution you as you are at a place of other woman listening to what you say).

            Another example you give is “if parents see that their children are being indoctrinated with ungodly teaching in public school or a private school”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the teaching of evolution is basic in most public schools…wouldn’t that alone count as indoctrination?

            I love the way you use Scripture about not being polluted with ungodliness as a basis for no TV; we can use the same principle for public school or music selection, etc…right?

            As far as worldly “holidays”, God tells us whatever we eat or drink, do it for the glory of God. Can you give an example of how putting up a tree and decorating it or buying gifts brings God glory? Honestly, I celebrated Christmas with my family for years…and years and years. I had absolutely no intention of not celebrating it. Then out of the blue one night, the Holy Spirit asked, “is Christmas in the Bible?” My first thought was, “of course it is!” But I couldn’t find it…anywhere. But what I did find grieved me. If it grieved me, then it must grieve a Holy God. Because God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow and He had His people stone to death and then burn a man because he had taken “accursed things” in Joshua 7 and because He tells the people in Hosea they had gone awhoring from their God; I wanted to stand before God one day with clean hands and have no accursed things or gone awhoring from Him.

            As far as gray areas where God gives us freedom; He does have a perfect will and a submissive will. Us choosing our clothing, our music, our church attendance, etc. is our submissive will; when we seek God in everything, that is His perfect will. So yes, we have freedom, but we should desire His will over our own freedom.

            I realize we disagree on this and that is ok. God will transform and renew each of our minds in all things as He sanctifies us. Blessings.

          6. Chari,

            Yes, the Holy Spirit does a much better job than any person of bringing conviction of sin. I am in wholehearted agreement with that. 🙂

            I don’t agree that all gray areas come from people personally interpreting God’s Word. There are whole denominations built on differences in interpretation of specific Scripture passages – that are not “private interpretations.” Armenianism and Calvinism both have Scriptural support. I personally believe that there is no conflict between a person’s free will and God’s sovereignty – but there are different understandings of these doctrines among believers. There are places in Scripture where there is mystery that our finite brains probably won’t fully comprehend until heaven – even something as “simple” as the idea of the Trinity. Of course God is not confused. But we may lack the ability to fully grasp everything God is and all that He does and the details of exactly how salvation and sanctification work. Thankfully, whether we totally understand it all perfectly or not – God understands it – and that is the main thing. He has given us His Word and given us much to study to help us understand. But now, we see as in a glass dimly about certain things.

            We are commanded by Scripture to “test the spirits” and not just believe anything that anyone teaches. And we are also commanded to handle God’s Word rightly. So, there are right ways and sinful ways of interpreting Scripture. I am in agreement with you on that. But there are also certain passages where the most godly pastors and theologians cannot agree.

            For us to have the most accurate version of God’s Word, we would all need to learn Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, it seems to me. Then we would not have to depend on any human translation. Why would we not all need to do that? Wouldn’t it be wrong for us to read any English translation – since the English translations all contain some degree of error?

            I personally wear skirts every day – 1. because I believe it celebrates my femininity and 2. because of the issue of modesty. I have a post about that here. But does that mean that another woman can never wear loose-fitting pants and be modest? That is for her to prayerfully consider with her husband and with God. The book you are suggesting is not Scripture – I am sure it is a helpful resource. But here, we are talking about Scripture – so, we should be able to discern how God desires us to dress simply through the Bible – without other resources. And, according to your argument, God’s Word tells us exactly how to dress without room for variation, if I am hearing correctly. So, we should all know exactly what clothing to buy based totally on Scripture verses. The thing is, Scripture doesn’t give us specific rules about that. There are some guidelines, yes. But it doesn’t say, “your dress must reach your ankles, anything above your ankles is sin – or anything 3 inches above your ankles is immodest.”

            Does avoiding worldliness and avoiding pollution by the world mean our children can never read any book or literature written by an unbeliever about anything? Does it mean we can’t play or listen to classical music? Does it mean that we can never listen to any love song of any kind? Maybe it means I can’t read CNN or the newspaper. I believe it is possible to take “avoiding worldliness” to extremes – and end up living as a monk in a monastery – without any contact with unbelievers or the world at all. It is tempting to become a hermit sometimes, I do admit, but I don’t see where that is the lifestyle Jesus is proposing. I believe discretion must be applied and godly wisdom by the power of God’s Spirit. These decisions will look different in different believers’ lives and maybe they will even be different at different stages of sanctification. But that does not mean that some believers are sinning because they don’t all have the exact same convictions about every single issue. The biblical principles are unshakable and unchanging. But how we live out the details may look slightly different in some areas.

            I am extremely and painfully well aware of the burden I have before God to handle His Word rightly – which is why I am completely open to sharpening, constructive criticism, and Scriptural rebuke. I know I need these things and that I am never infallible. I appreciate your willingness to participate in a respectful and loving discussion about a difficult topic. 🙂

            Here is a big problem I see – other than just the idea that there is no gray area at all (which – with complete love and respect for you as my dear sister in Christ – I cannot agree with at this point) – what if a wife believes as you do, that there is no gray area, that her children should only be homeschooled or it is sin, that she and her family should never celebrate Christmas or worldly holidays in any way, that she should never listen to anything but Christian music… and her husband disagrees? How does she honor his leadership if what he is asking her to do is, in your view, sin?

            Should she refuse to cooperate with his leadership and accuse him of sin and insist on homeschooling the children even though he strongly disagrees? Should she insist that the family never celebrate any holidays even though the husband believes they should? Should she sell the TVs even though he wants to watch TV because it is sin – and he just better deal with it? If the husband is sinning in these situations, then the wife is free not to submit to him, correct? Or does she have to condone and commit sin to follow her husband in order to obey God? I don’t believe God ever forces anyone into sin or tempts anyone to sin – according to Scripture (James 1)

            I am just wondering how this would work? Couldn’t a wife say that all of the things she believes to be right are of God and all of the things the husband disagrees with her about are sin? I did this for many years – and it did not work very well in our marriage. Sadly, I was filled with pride and self-rigtheousness about what I believed, believing I was the only one of the two of us who could see God’s Word and His will and Scripture clearly. Perhaps it is possible to see everything as totally black and white and not have pride and self-righteousness. I wasn’t able to do that, but maybe it is possible? I believed that the TV was sin. I believed that celebrating worldly holidays was sin. I believed that public school was sin. I felt completely justified to defy anything my husband asked me to do that I did not agree with. I had Scriptural support for everything I believed.

            I don’t want to encourage women to think the way I used to. My pride, self-righteousness, critical spirit, condemning attitude, disrespect, and refusal to submit to my husband and even to God about certain things were awful. But – perhaps I am greatly misunderstanding. I am hopeful that I am.

            I am concerned about how one would avoid legalism with this belief system? How would we avoid the “yeast of the Pharisees” (pride, self-righteousness, and legalism) and avoid the “yeast of Herod” (worldliness).

            All believers are always to desire God’s will above everything. Amen!!! 🙂 That is what it means for us to submit to His Lordship. There is much freedom, joy, and peace to be in the center of God’s will – the most beautiful place to be in all the universe. 🙂 I’m sure we agree very much on that. I believe there is much we do agree on. I am thankful to get to talk with you, my beloved sister. I appreciate your willingness to sharpen me and expose me to other perspectives.

            Much love to you. I hope you might clarify where I am not understanding correctly.

          7. Actually the leaven of herod is adultery. He married heroics which was his brothers Phillips wife. Which we see many who are in adultery. So does this fall under personal conviction too?

          8. Submissive,

            Here is a link to a number of commentaries about the “leaven of Herod” – which seems to refer to worldliness, unbelief in the true God, sensuality, immorality, etc… http://biblehub.com/commentaries/mark/8-15.htm

            There are many areas in Scripture where God clearly defines sin – and we are to walk in obedience to Him in these commands. God is pretty clear about adultery in the Old and New Testaments. We are to flee sexual immorality and not to have even a hint of it in our lives. We are all, as believers, called to live in holiness, by the power of God’s Spirit.

            Thank you for your comments, my dear sister.

          9. Hi april, the thing is when we look at commentary that try to change God’s word this is what leads us to error. It’s clear in the scripture what the leaven of herod is. What man does is try to change the word so it can be comfortable for themselves and others. Herod married herodias which was his brothers wife. John got beheaded because he told the truth and herodias did not like it. The leaven of Herod is adultery. We see people on the second third and fourth marriages which is a sin in the eyes of the Lord. They have to repent and turn from what they are doing. People feel that their adulterous marriages are okay even though the bible says otherwise. We must be careful of “bible scholars” because they can lead us astray by there own false doctrines. In these last days we must depend on the scripture alone to guide us. I say this all in love. No contentment here♡ 🙂

          10. Submissive,

            I agree that scholars can mislead us – and we must always compare what anyone says to Scripture. I cannot completely discount all Bible scholars, however – because they are the very ones who give us the translations of God’s Word into English so that we can understand it. But they are not infallible and they are not perfect. Because our Bible is a translation – there are sometimes various ways to interpret things into another language – and it can be helpful to read about different interpretations of certain words. It is also very helpful to have historical background from biblical times to increase our understanding of Scripture, in my view. But – you are certainly free to disagree with me. I never want to hold a man’s opinion higher than Scripture. Never! God’s Word is the authority.

            My desire is that we might accurately understand God’s Word. But we must use much caution and be sensitive to God’s Spirit as we seek to understand – that we might handle God’s Word rightly. We must carefully weigh what is said against Scripture. We are to listen to those who uphold the truth of God’s Word only. Do you believe in listening to any pastors or Bible teachers? I guess I am not really sure that there is a difference between a “Bible scholar” and a seminary trained pastor or Bible teacher who learned Hebrew and New Testament Greek. And God obviously has given the church pastors and teachers to edify and build up the Body.

            And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;… Ephesians 4:11-12

            And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:28

            But we are instructed to carefully weigh what is said:

            Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they
            are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

            (Note: I am hopeful that you have contentment in Christ – but possibly not “contention”? Maybe that is what you intended to say, my sister?)

            The Bible actually speaks in greater detail about Herod’s life than simply that he committed adultery. If you prefer not to use commentaries, let’s look at Scripture alone, then. Herod also allowed men to believe that he was a god:

            Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there. He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply.
            On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. Acts 12:19-23

            Herod had a following of people, “the Herodians,” who had plotted with the Pharisees in order to kill Jesus. You may find verses about them here. And for those who are interested, there is a write up about the Herodians from a historical perspective at Wikipedia.

            So, while it is true that Herod did commit adultery – Scripture speaks to much more than just that about Herod and his followers. They were against Christ (and helped to plot Jesus’ death along with the Pharisees), they exalted Herod as a god, and they were a political group given to corruption and godlessness.

            Much love to you!

          11. I read this verse last week (before this post came up) and I’ve thought of it a few times since then.

            Ecclesiastes 7:16: “Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise– why destroy yourself?”

            I really, truly believe that God’s heart is not for us to be looking for sin under every rock ….we will never be satisfied with our level of righteousness. This is one of the gifts Christ gave to us – freedom from this kind of fear that things we are doing might be unholy or sinful – or that what we are doing isn’t good enough.

            I say this with heaviness in my heart. I long for His people to know the true rest and freedom that is ours in Christ!

            Let’s set our eyes on Him – not our sin or our lifestyles. As we set our eyes on Him, we will be filled with His Spirit and living the Christian life will come naturally. What we behold, is what we become. Let’s behold Him, not ourselves. Let’s let God’s Word minister to us, yes….but let’s not go seeking to find things in there that aren’t really addressed. It’s very serious to add to what God has said and to assign words to His mouth that He has not spoken.

            http://gracegems.org/Pink/over_righteous.htm

          12. Hi, Chari. Yes, I believe that God sanctifies us throughout our lifetime. I love Hebrews 10:14: “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Just like so many things of God, it is hard for us to wrap our minds around how we have already been made perfect forever (has made perfect = past tense/done!) and are still being made holy. But, we don’t have to understand perfectly, that’s why it’s called faith.

            It’s knowing what I already am in Him that enables me to rest in Him and His making me holy (the second part of that verse) in His time and way. Interestingly, I find myself being more and more sanctified when I am living from this awareness rather than when I am trying to work on myself (if that makes sense!). And, there is peace with the process rather than any fear or false guilt.

            Areas where God seems to be highlighting some things for me in the last few days are how I’m responding to my children and speaking to them in the dailyness of just living. What I have found is that as He gives me an awareness of that, I can just thank Him and praise Him because I know that if He’s showing me this, then He will be teaching me in the days to come. I can also thank Him that I am already forgiven for those things and can agree with what He’s showing me. He will finish the work that He began in me. And sometimes, it comes in layers. A layer is reached and then a year or so later, He goes deeper. I would say that the main ways that God has sanctified me through the years are definitely focused on loving others, showing mercy, forgiveness, serving and being a living sacrifice.

            I do not share the same convictions you have about Christmas or only homeschooling your children (even though I homeschooled my children for about 5 years and am very grateful for that time!) or set rules about modesty. I respect your freedom to live by those convictions, but, I can’t agree with the reasons why you are doing them. I would say this to you….Did you learn all of what you learned by only seeking God in His Word – just you and the Spirit – or did men (through books, blogs or teachings) direct you to verses to show you why Christmas is wrong or why women should only wear dresses/skirts a certain length, etc.? Actually, Chari, I just re-read one of your first posts and I can see that you’ve already answered that – at least for the modesty issue. You stated that the Holy Spirit revealed to you some immodesty issues that you corrected. I want to say this carefully and I hope you hear my heart here. It seems to me that the changes you made regarding modesty at the beginning were directed by the Lord Himself. You were at peace and fine after that time until you were handed a book that you read. It was *man’s* interpretation of scriptures on modesty that caused you to believe that you were still living in sin in that area and needed to make more adjustments.

            I cannot personally accept or believe that our God is so ambiguous with us about some of these issues that we would have to really do some serious hunting to find verses that give us more specifics about modesty, Christmas or Bible versions.

            With respect and kindness, I would like to say that the verses that you provided that you believe talk about the issues of homeschooling, KJV, alcohol and Christmas trees do not at all speak to those topics. Yes, they are used by some to fit in with their own convictions, but they do not by any means say that you must homeschool your children only or that you must use the KJV version. Sober also does not mean to “abstain from wine” in the Greek. Rather, it means: “to be sober, to be calm and collected in spirit; to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect”. Reading Luke 7 leads most to believe that Jesus even drank wine himself. In Psalm 104, wine is spoken of as something given by God, along with oil and bread. Drinking wine is not the problem, it’s being drunk with wine that is a sin which is clearly spelled out in scripture. It is important to look at the whole context of a passage when reading verses and not to take just one verse and decide what it means based on it standing alone. You can see this especially with verses in Jeremiah 10 that many people use as a reason to not have Christmas trees. The context of this whole passage has to do with idolatry, not the fact that a tree has been cut down. It’s what they did with the tree that made that a sin. They were making idols to worship. Christians who celebrate Christmas are not partaking in idolatry with their Christmas tree, they are celebrating Emmanuel – God with us. Christmas is not commanded nor prohibited in God’s Word.

            One thing I think it seems God is doing in his Church the last few (or more — o.k., maybe all along He’s been doing this, now that I think about it! 🙂 ) years is renewing His children’s minds with the truth of His Word – and by tearing down false things/belief systems we have learned through religion and man’s false interpretations of scripture. He’s been doing this with me for a while and He’s doing it with many, many other of His children.

            I would like to reiterate that I believe it is very dangerous to add to scripture or to proclaim that God has spoken about something when He hasn’t. I believe that doing that is just as serious as taking very clear commands like forgiveness and trying to twist that to fit in with your own personal situation to give you some kind of “out” for not having to do what God has clearly said to do.

            Chari, I have a feeling that we will not work all this out here and now, but know that I respect you and your rights and freedom to look at these topics any way you see fit. I know that I cannot change your mind about these things or even articulate clearly enough to help you see things the way I see them. I do pray for all of us to be able to see Jesus Christ throughout all of Scripture – because that is truly the whole point of God’s Word. A revelation of Jesus Christ. I pray that we will go to God’s Word with an open heart to Him, just wanting to know Him and know truth. As we do that, He will be faithful and lead us into all truth.

          13. Jennifer, It is such a blessing to rest in the Lord and His promises, but please don’t forget the passages in Philipians 2:12, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Now I’m in no way saying this means we can loose our salvation, but we should continually desire to be sanctified through the leading of the Holy Spirit. I truly hope I have not conveyed I have false guilt because I am beyond blessed to have peace that surpasses all my understanding!

            Never once did I feel I was in sin regarding the way I dressed; I’m sorry if I made it seem that way. However, when I submitted myself to what the Holy Spirit and God’s Word said, I was drawn closer to God through being obedient. I’m also sorry if I made it seem man somehow led me to dress modestly. The book was shared with me about six months after the changes had already been made and I made no further changes after reading the book; it was just so refreshing to see others had also been convicted by God’s Word to dressing modestly for the Lord.

            I hope I can be transparent with you and share just a nugget of the modesty journey God took me through. We live in a small community and attend church in another small community. In all my life, I’ve only known one family that wore skirts/dresses and I never knew why they did. No one in our community or our church community exclusively wears skirts/dresses. I didn’t even own a skirt or a dress when the Holy Spirit nudged me about dressing modestly. I don’t believe in coincidence, but I do believe in the providence of God. God, in His grace and mercy began to nudge two of our three daughters at the same time He was nudging me. We hadn’t really talked about it; just mentioned to one another that we were each being nudged. All three of our daughters are married and two of them, the Lord has blessed with children. One week we went on a family trip and stayed in a motel that had a pool where our youngest (married) daughter wore a bikini. The next week God did a real, major transformation on her heart and mind because she has such a great love for God and desires to be obedient to Him. The following weekend she began to exclusively wear skirts/dresses. Only the Holy Spirit and God’s Word can make those kinds of transformations! None of us were prompted by any person’s interpretation of the Bible because no one we know or converse with exclusively wears skirts/dresses. It was truly a work of the Holy Spirit. I just really wanted to clarify that I didn’t begin to dress in a way that pleased the Lord out of fear or guilt or man’s interpretation; I did it out of obedience to the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. And what an incredible blessing to have God revealing His truth to our two daughters at the same time He did me!!

            I have to confess, I had to look up the word “ambiguous” and it seems to mean, “unclear or inexact because a choice between alternatives has not been made.” Honestly, I don’t believe God is unclear or inexact in any area; however, our fallen world and our sinful nature has left our minds and hearts muddled and confused.

            I say this with respect and kindness as well; I’m sorry you don’t see the Scriptures I had previously shared as speaking to the topics, but again, it is not my job to open others eyes to see and ears to hear. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. I would share more Scriptures with you in reference to any topic if you are interested (you talked about alcohol in your last comment to me), but it appears you already have your mind made up. We are definitely on opposite ends of the spectrum regarding alcohol because it always grieves me when people assume the Savior drank alcohol; the same drink that has caused diseases, divorce, rape, murder, abuse, and so many more awful choices. And they each began with just one drink that led to a lifetime of bad choices.

            I praise God every day for the truth He has revealed to me, the conviction He has placed in my heart, and the desire to be obedient to Him. The opposite would be me drinking alcohol when I chose to, wearing clothes that could cause a man to stumble, only attending church when I wanted to, listening to music that may appeal to my stinky flesh, etc. For all that and more I’m blessed beyond measure that I serve a God that doesn’t have any gray areas and continually shows me which areas of my own life need changed so my flesh will die and my spirit will be edified.

            Blessings

          14. Chari, I agree that yes, we need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling….but I think that most people forget to add the last part….”for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” The idea is that it is God Himself who is working in us to sanctify us and to dismiss that and not give the Spirit the right to work in our lives *is* a cause for fear and trembling. So, we agree on that, I think. 🙂

            I’m sorry for misunderstanding what you wrote regarding how God led you in the issue of modesty. That is actually a very neat story and I’m glad you shared it! I do believe God leads us in these ways and what you shared is a great example of how God moves in our lives.

            Would you say that as you came to your views regarding alcohol, homeschooling, Christmas and KJV being the only approved translation that God showed you in that same way each time? (i.e., it was the Spirit only showing you on your own, you hadn’t read those ideas anywhere else or been exposed to them from other teaching)

            I agree with you that God is not ambiguous at all regarding the issues that we’ve been speaking about.

            As far as your statement regarding alcohol, we could easily say this about a number of things….food itself is neutral, but to be a glutton and eat too much is sin. Even someone who is thin can be a glutton. Gluttony can, I’m sure, be linked to many health problems and even psychological problems that would affect relationships in negative ways. Or, what about money? Money is a root of all kinds of evil, but we know that God is not saying that therefore, we shouldn’t use money. We don’t misuse or abuse it, or make an idol out of it, but money in and of itself is neutral and to use money in a balanced and wise way is good. So, just because alcohol, or food, or money are misused and the partaking of them can become sin for those who are not using them to the glory of God, it does not make these things wrong in and of themselves. And, we know that God has not condemned alcohol anywhere in Scripture. It is a personal conviction of some to totally abstain and that is fine, but when you have scripture that talks about how wine is a gift, along with bread and oil, and even a recommendation from Paul to Timothy to drink a little for his stomach, I find it very hard to see how anyone can very blatantly go against what God has said. This is the kind of thing where I believe we are treading on dangerous ground to say that to drink alcohol is sin when there are too many verses that clearly go directly against that. Are we warned about the dangers of alcohol? Yes, absolutely. Just like food and money and many other things.

            Well, Chari (by the way, I love your name and wonder if I’m saying it the right way in my head!), it has been an interesting discussion. 🙂 I know that you would probably like to reply to what I’ve written here and I look forward to reading that. I think that this will be my last post either way as I don’t think, for my own self, that furthering this discussion will be fruitful. Blessings to you!

          15. Chari,

            Thank you for sharing why you and your husband came to the decision not to drink alcohol. My grandfather was an alcoholic and that is one reason why I don’t want to drink alcohol – I have seen the devastation that happened in our family because of his addiction – even though I never met him. There are many reasons why a believer might choose not to drink alcohol. But that doesn’t mean I am free to condemn, judge, or look down on believers who do drink a glass of wine at supper or to demand that all believers abstain. I can trust God to work in their hearts about this issue and I can allow them the freedom that God allows them. And those believers who do choose to drink in moderation do not have the right to condemn, judge, or look down on those believers who abstain from alcohol or to demand that everyone drink it.

            Paul talks about that each believer “should be fully convinced in his/her own mind” about these disputable matters and that those who drink/eat do so to the Lord and those who abstain do so to the Lord – Romans 14 (and he is talking about alcohol there, as well as eating meat that was served to idols and he also talked about observing special days or counting every day the same). I love that you are fully convinced in your own mind on these issues. That is awesome! What you are doing – you are doing in faith with a genuine desire to please, honor, and obey God. That is beautiful and that is what I long for us all to do.

            According to Scripture we do have freedom in these “disputable matters” to have our own convictions based on what we believe God desires us to do and Scripture. (If I believe it is wrong for me to drink alcohol, then I need to not drink alcohol because it would be sin for to go against my conscience and do something that is not of faith.) We don’t have freedom in all things – we never have freedom to sin. But in these areas that fall under “disputable matters” those with weaker faith are not to condemn those with stronger faith in these areas and those with stronger faith are to bear with those with weaker faith and weaker conscience.

            I am concerned that in NOT keeping our own personal convictions to ourselves we may unwittingly create confusion, division, and contention in the comment thread on this post. I really don’t want to do that! Respectfully, this is where I would like to close this particular discussion. I greatly appreciate you sharing your views. You have given us much to think about and pray about – and that is great.

            We will pray together for God to lead His people – for it is to our own Master we will each stand or fall – and Christ is able to make us each stand! 🙂 We will let God’s Spirit do the convicting now. He is so amazing at that job. 🙂

            Much love!
            April

          16. April, so you won’t be answering my question about where Romans 14 specifically talks about alcohol? If not here, would you be interested in emailing me personally…ueding@huntel.net

            God never told us to keep quiet about His Word; that is why abortion, homosexuality, etc. are destroying our nation. The enemy has closed the mouths of God’s people out of fear. We must take a stand about God’s truths and warn those in the body of Christ of the dangers of anything of this fallen world because the enemy is roaming around seeking whom he can devour. Nothing in this thread was spoken wrongfully; everything was done in love and respect the way the Scriptures tell us to. I provided Scripture for every issue that people questioned me on and I attempted to answer each person that directed questions or comments to me specifically. Sadly, many believers are scared of the truth because it would mean they would have to change their lifestyle and our flesh would have to die. I’m sorry you feel the need to end the discussion, but I will respect that.

            If you choose to email me, I will look forward to that; otherwise, see you in Heaven for all eternity. Blessings

          17. Chari,

            We ARE to take a stand on God’s Word about indisputable matters that God clearly calls sin. Abortion, homosexuality, immorality, addictions, pornography, idolatry, false teaching, stealing, lying, hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, self-righteousness, pride and things God calls sin we are to talk about and boldly share the Gospel so that many might come to Christ and find freedom and victory in Christ over their sin.

            I agree that you shared Scripture about your convictions and spoke in love and respect. Thank you kindly for that. I endeavored to do the same.

            When people come to Christ, He can change them and He will change them radically for His glory. We can leave the disputable matters to God’s Spirit to handle – keeping our convictions on those things between ourselves and God privately as Romans 14:22 commands all of us to do. And we can seek to share God’s love and truth about the things He commands us to share about with His strength, power, and courage.

            Thanks for respecting my request, my dear sister.

            Much love!
            April

          18. Chari,

            My sweet sister, I know you would like to continue this conversation, but you are misunderstanding, mishearing, and so severely twisting what I am saying, what the other commenters are saying that I believe it would be completely unproductive and likely harmful to you for me to continue any attempt at further discussion.

            I am not saying the things you think I am saying. I wish I could communicate more clearly to you. I am really sad that it has come to this point. Let’s entrust one another to the Holy Spirit’s role of conviction of sin and conviction of any other areas, as well. I don’t want to cause any further distress to you. I don’t want to change your mind. I think this is not a topic you and I should talk about right now.

            I love your heart for Christ and for His Word. I am so glad you are seeking to listen to and to obey God’s Spirit and the Bible. That is wonderful. I long for all of us to seek Him first and to seek to obey all that God speaks to us through His Word and His Spirit and to live in full surrender to Christ in every moment in every area of our lives.

            I am thankful to meet you and I can’t wait to see you face to face one day. 🙂 May God richly bless your walk with Him. If you would like to comment about another topic in the future, perhaps we can try a different issue. Regretfully, I am not going to be able to post any more of your comments on this topic.

            Much love, my dear sister.

          19. Chari,

            Romans 14 does mention alcohol… here is the passage you asked me to share:

            19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

            22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin

          20. I studied the alcohol issue years ago and do not drink any longer. I went back into the original language using a Strong’s concordance. For example, we are speaking in general terms here for alcohol. There is a difference between wine and the fruit of the vine. Lots of times when the word wine is used it is speaking of unfermented juice. The juice that comes from the grape that is not fermented. Also, wine they drank was very diluted. They drank it of necessity because the water was contaminated and made them sick. Today, we have clean water so there is no need to drink diluted wine. Food and water is a necessity, but wine that is drunk today (undiluted) is not necessary. I think it is important to do a study in the original meaning of the words on this issue.

          21. Eliza,

            True – the wine they drank in Jesus’ day was diluted and the water was not safe to drink. These are certainly things for us to consider as we prayerfully seek to honor God in this matter. Thanks!

          22. This is a good topic in general for marriages though.

            I rarely come very close to agreeing with anyone completely on theology (of course, in my mind, I’m only agreeing with Scripture itself).

            Between me and God, I’m still struggling to understand what certain disagreements mean and how important they are in God’s sight. Paul talks a lot about certain things like food and special days, basically concluding that what’s most important is that everything you do is done unto the Lord, acknowledging Him in all things and such. Of course, that’s what Paul talks about in Romans 14 as you mentioned.

            Great things to think about. 🙂

          23. The wine may or may not have been diluted, but some things to consider are that whatever kind of wine it was (diluted or not), it was obviously still of high enough alcoholic content that it is addressed in the Bible to not get drunk on wine. Also, consider that even as believers celebrated the Lord’s Supper together, they were getting drunk. If the wine was as diluted as some of the articles I’ve read that claim that, they would have had to drink lots and lots of the wine to get drunk. Jesus himself was accused of being a drunk. This sure seems to imply that he drank enough wine at various times to be accused of being a drunkard. He contrasts himself to John the Baptist, who didn’t drink wine at all.

            Looking at the warnings not to get drunk, I tend to believe that they had the same type of alcohol percentage as our current drinks.

            Whatever the case, the command is still the same. Do not be drunk with wine. And, the freedom remains as well. Believers are free to drink wine as long as they are not losing control, as long as the Spirit is still in control in their lives and they are not getting drunk.

            Having said that, I am not trying to convince anyone to begin drinking wine or any other alcoholic drink if your conscience doesn’t allow it.

          24. Culture must also be weighed in as to whether a certain action might be considered sin. If we were to judge a person’s walk with the Lord because they drink alcohol and smoke we would never give any heed to the one of the most famous Christian apologists and author of the Narnia series, C.S. Lewis. He met weekly with his friends, who called themselves the Inklings. Among them was J.R.R. Tolkien (Catholic and author of Lord of the Rings and was the greatest influence in leading C.S Lewis to Christ). Over a few drinks and pipes or cigars, Lewis and Tolkien, both professors at Oxford College in England, discussed war, religion, literature, their writings, etc. It was Lewis who came up with the reasoning of Lord, Liar or Lunatic as there are only 3 ways one can honestly look at Jesus.
            In trying to lead a “pure” life, other Christians told me not to read Lord of the Rings due to all the mythological creatures in the book and reading about them would bring demons into my life. (too late, they were already there) What many do not realize is that those books are an allegory of WWI, which both Lewis and Tolkien served in and writing them helped in healing and making sense of the cruelties of war. My husband has read the Rings trilogy many times through and watches the movies often.

          25. Oops, I should have said that some of the believers in Corinthians were admonished by Paul because they were coming together and getting drunk, also eating well before their poorer brothers and sisters in Christ. The way I worded that in my previous comment, it sounds like I am condoning that they were getting drunk! Sorry about that!

          26. I sure hope I’m replying to Jennifer in the right place. I had to scroll way up to find the “reply”.

            Jennifer, bless you for asking about my name. It is just a simple name with a very unique spelling. It has many different spellings like Sherry or Sheri; but I’ve never seen it spelled the way my mom and dad chose to spell my name. It describes me really well; simple but unique (at least that is what my husband tells me lol).

            You asked me about my views on different topics and I want to answer you completely, but try not turn this into a book (we’ll see how I do with that when I’m done). 

            About 20 years ago (wow that really ages me!) a coworker invited me to a woman’s Bible study/prayer group. I had no idea people “studied” the Bible or prayed out loud! I attended for three years, but didn’t understand anything the women were sharing. Until one evening someone quoted Ephesians 2:8,9, “by grace you have been saved…not of works”. A light bulb went off! I came home and shared it with my husband and we were both intrigued. We went on a journey together of understanding what that meant. I wasn’t searching for God, but through all that He was pursuing me. That is how most of my Christian walk has been. I don’t pursue an area, but in my ignorance, God reveals it to me through His grace and mercy.

            We began attending a church that preached the Gospel and we both became so alive (a born again experience will do that). A couple of years later, a friend invited me to her church to hear an evangelist speak (I had no idea what an “evangelist” was). I didn’t want to go because I heard they swung from the chandeliers and did crazy things at this church, but something (I didn’t know then but I now know it was the Holy Spirit) kept nudging me to go. I ended up going, but felt very uncomfortable because people were raising their hands when they sang (thankfully no one was swinging from anything though). When it was over, my friend and I walked outside and she asked me if I got anything out of the service. I said I didn’t; so she insisted we go back in. She asked the evangelist to pray for me and a group of people came around me and laid hands on me. I honestly didn’t know what they were doing by putting their hands on me, but I knew something had happened in me but I didn’t know what it was. That night after we tucked our young girls in bed and my husband went to bed, I stayed up and prayed only words came out of my mouth that I didn’t understand. I told my husband the next morning and he insisted I call our pastor to find out what they had done to me at the church I had attended. The pastor told me not to worry because it didn’t really happen; they had tried to make me speak in tongues, but that wasn’t for today. I had never heard of speaking in tongues before, but God gave me that precious gift in the midst of my ignorance (the way God seems to always work with me). Through my husband’s leading, we couldn’t continue going to the church where the pastor disagreed with what had happened to me.

            Concerning the issue of homeschooling. Our three girls were attending public school and were in 5th, 3rd, and 1st grades. About a month into the new school year, our youngest daughter would cry herself to sleep because she didn’t want to go to school. My husband would have to literally pick her up and carry her to the car and then carry her into school each morning crying and sobbing. My husband and I were at a loss as to what happened or why she was reacting that way. We got on our knees every night for about a month asking God to help us and help our little girl. One day, I walked her to school (she was crying the whole way) and when we got to school she looked up at me and said, “mommy, could you teach me?” I had honestly never thought of that. I knew nothing about homeschooling, but I believed our prayers had been answered and God had our little girl lead us into His truth. Through those years, God taught us so much about the incredible gift of teaching our children.

            A few years ago, I was sitting in my recliner one evening when the Holy Spirit said, “what is Christmas”? I was perplexed to say the least because I had always celebrated Christmas and had never thought about the meaning of it other than it’s when Jesus was born. I was determined to find the answer in the Bible, but I was grieved when I couldn’t find anything. I had never heard anyone say anything negative about Christmas and everyone I knew celebrated Christmas.

            I could go on and on about how the Holy Spirit nudged and led me each time God revealed truth to me and not man’s interpretation because (and I’m being honest) I was in ignorance to even thinking or knowing about each of these matters.

            I want to share about alcohol, since you specifically brought that topic up in your comment, but I’m going to work on that comment later today. Until then. 

          27. Wow, this is amazing! It looks like you have your priorities in the right places. This is so encouraging to me – I can’t say I’m ready to go the extent that you would be willing to go (maybe I need more work, lol) but I’m working on down-sizing possessions and re-allocating my time and finances to be less selfish and more active in the roles that God has given me. Thanks for sharing your heart in this area!

          28. Leah,

            Now the hard part is being patient and content even if we don’t do these things! Waiting in God’s direction and timing and His work in my husband and in me. Praying for His will, not mine.

            I’m excited about what God is doing in your life! 🙂

          29. April, I would love to sell our TVs!! I become more and more disgusted, agitated and stressed out over having “strangers’ voices” in what is to be our haven and peaceful abode.

            Unfortunately, the one who likes to have the TV on the most is my husband. He has a full line-up every night and looks forward to his time to relax. Of course, the TV he likes to watch is in the main part of the house right out in the open.

            I have tried to encourage him and the kids to lessen the TV time but I feel like I’m in a losing battle. My husband isn’t willing to even cut back because after being at work all day and having to sit in traffic for hours, it is his main thing he looks forward to for decompressing from the day’s events and hardships.

            I have always been bothered by a lot of excessive noise and commotion. Is this something that I should just learn to live with?

            Any advice would be appreciated, as I don’t want to nag my husband about it and I certainly want to honor his down-time in the evening.

          30. Mrs. G.,
            My husband loves to watch TV to unwind, too. I don’t know that I have a “solution.” I think God may prompt us at times to say something gently, humbly, and respectfully if TV is completely consuming all of our family time. There are times when God prompts us to wait and be silent and let Him work. There are times He prompts us to address issues and to confront sin. I think this will take great sensitivity to God’s Spirit and much patience as well as a careful evaluation of our own motives.

            Praying for God’s wisdom for you!

          31. April, you won’t believe the discussion I had with my husband tonight. We were discussing finances and out of the blue, he says, “let’s get rid of the TV. I feel like so much of my time is being wasted on watching TV. I could have made so much more product (he does woodworking on the side) this year had I not been involved in all of these programs.” I was floored. I haven’t brought up how much the TV bothered me in years, so for him to say that, right after I had posted this to you, was a little eerie.

            Now, all of a sudden, I’m feeling gun-shy as all of my favorite programs flash before my eyes. I love that half hour a day that I spend watching something that I’ve recorded, and to say goodbye to certain programs is making me feel a little forlorn.

            I can’t help but feel that this is a clear message from God, however. I couldn’t help but share this with you because the timing is so strange that it must be none other than Divine Intervention!

          32. Mrs. G.,

            HA! WOW!!!!

            That is really surprising! I would probably faint if my husband said that to me. 🙂 I just had to laugh that you are now feeling some uncomfortable feelings about getting rid of the TV.

            It does sound like divine intervention. Praise God for the way He is moving in your husband’s life!

          33. my husband is the original couch potato—tv, tv, and more tv and computers—when my elderly mom was living with us before she passed away, I mentioned to her how I thought he watches too much tv. She replied “do you want to know how many women would love to have a husband that they know where he is?”

          34. Mrs. G.,

            My husband watches a lot of tv, too, and doesn’t seem to be aware of how much total time can be spent on media in our family. I remember walking around my neighborhood in total anguish one night because of having these ongoing arguments with my husband about the amount of tv he was letting our son watch…or the lack of guidelines about how much media to watch, how much time to spend on phones, etc. My son is very much into sports and there is always something sports-related on when you have cable! This was an ongoing issue in our house for several years and it seemed like no matter what, God just wasn’t changing the situation.

            I remember reading on a website a few years ago that a wife is better off submitting to her husband on these things than allowing discord into the home because of differences in opinion. It made a lot of sense and I won’t say that I didn’t struggle after that time. I did, but I started to let go a little of desire to control. Then God started showing me more about respect and submission. And, I learned to let go even more. And my kids have way more media time than I would like. (And the fact is that I was spending a lot of time on the computer during that whole time of being so angry that my kids were getting too much media – how ironic – talk about a plank-filled eye!)

            For me, I just got to the point where I had to just give it all to God and trust Him with the situation. I have to choose not to believe the lies of the enemy that whisper things like “Your kids are going to grow up to be lazy and unmotivated because of this”….or believing lies that if they watch too much tv or are exposed to the world too much that they will never come to Christ. All of that stuff is fear-based and is not from God. God is so much bigger than all of that and He knows our hearts. When my kids are saved one day, it will be all because of God and He will get all the glory because we certainly didn’t live up to any “perfect” Christian family image in this house (as much as I desire that at times).

            I am happier just being at peace with all of it rather than letting it really get to me and feeling like we were being failures at parenting if things weren’t perfectly perfect in our little home. This doesn’t mean that I don’t ask my husband at times to help me limit their media time or that I don’t try at all to guide their choices in what they watch. Of course, I still have responsibility in that area.

            It’s still hard for me at times to see the reality of how we operate around here vs. where I would want it. But, in the end, I cannot change the situation. Only God can.

          35. I have a big problem with the TV constantly being on, as well. But I will start on a rant if I start talking about how many hours are wasted there so I’ll just leave that- it’s been discussed already. 🙂

            My husband is also obsessed with video games (counselor would call it addiction) and I cannot stand the noises as they are very violent games. Same as you, the noise permeates the entire house and even makes the house shake. It’s hard to find peace at home! I’m a little lucky because I’m very outdoors-y so that helps. Also, once he started playing networked games with his friends, he would wear a headset so he could talk to them and that means I hear nothing! While I’m still pretty displeased with the situation, at least I don’t have to listen to it anymore. 🙂

          36. our home became TV free when my now 19 year old daughter was 1, and her brother was 4. husband wanted the TV, I wanted the loud obnoxious distasteful thing gone! We compromised: in the summer when we were so busy outdoors anyway, it went down in the basement, in a box, its face turned to the wall, like an electronic timeout LOL. After six months, when winter approached, husband had his turn. (Yes this was before Peaceful Wife Husband Leader days)…amazingly he said, no you are right. It does not add anything to our lives. It was wonderful! We all did a great deal of reading, our home has over 800 books. Husband began reading wonderful nonfiction adventure books. My children could maintain an attention span because they entertained themselves with lincoln logs, Legos, and sandbox play. They read to stave off boredom. Both my son and daughter tested 2 to 3 grade levels above their age for reading scores, their teachers were amazed… for which we have no TV and plenty of reading to thank. Now they are out of the house. My husband did buy a flat screen TV and occasionally watches a DVD, but we do not have cable or Netflix, etc. It is a wonderful time to be TV free, while you have children in the house.
            I just wanted to add some encouragement to the TV free discussion. Ultimately you have to have the man of the house agree, but perhaps a trial period over summer might do the trick for those families on the fence.

          37. I met a woman who had been through such tribulation with her husband surviving gun shot wounds in a store robbery (he was an innocent bystander)—she lost all her wealth -gig home, big car, fancy clothes, etc giin hospital costs to save him. They went from very well off to a little house and few possessions—she told me of a rich woman who wanted very badly to get rid of her Cadillac and get a smaller cheaper car because most of her friends did not have her type of money…she said that God would not let her sell it…keeping it kept her humble. It is interesting how God works in each individual!

  6. This is very helpful to me. I’ve been unable to walk with God because of bitterness in my heart and unconfessed sin, so when it comes to how to apply wisdom in my relationship with my husband, though I now have the sincere desire to do right, I was so confused in my mind on how to be!
    I’m looking for spiritual discernment and clarity. This is a good start for me. I asked my husband if he would be willing to hold me accountable to reading Gods word daily.

    (I have not wanted to read it for every excuse in the world.. 3 small children, pregnant, tired, can’t understand it anymore, etc)
    But now God has primed my heart to just begin reading again whether it makes sense or not.
    I am causing a lot of unrest in my home because I am not rested in Christ . I’d love to see God turning my heart -and our pattern – before long.

    1. Raquen,

      It is impossible to have fellowship with God when we cherish sin in our hearts. That is so true!

      You may be interested in searching my home page for “bitterness” – I think some of those posts may be a blessing. 🙂

      If you need some help getting started in God’s Word, listening to David Platt’s sermons may be helpful – http://www.radical.net. He has a Secret Church series where he talks about how to study the Bible that may also be helpful. 🙂

      Focus on what DOES make sense and allow God to speak to you, be open to anything He wants to say. It is helpful for me to journal my prayers and thoughts and to write down any sin and lies I have believed and to write down the truth of God’s Word.

      Another book that may be helpful is Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

      Much love to you! I’m so glad you want to begin to seek God with all your heart again!

  7. Hi April,

    Great article on being united in truth, and not man’s convictions. I was happy that you tried listing out all ten commandments, as many usually forget the only commandment that God tells us to remember! The one that was created the first week of creation. This is the one that, if people choose to include it, put their own twist to. The 4th commandment – keeping HIS Sabbath day holy (not choosing our own).

    After taking all of His Word as truth, and remembering to keep HIS Sabbath, my eyes have been opened to the tremendous blessings and promises in His Word. All of it is truth, and He never changes, so what He set apart as holy is still holy; it is His law. His law is truth. Jesus is the Word, which is truth, which was from the beginning and is to the end. The longest chapter in the Bible is dedicated to telling us just how wonderful His ways/ law/ commandments are.

    God has shown me how the New Testament isn’t new — it is just re-iterating the Old Testament (which is called the Scriptures, according to the NT). So many ideas that I thought were new (like grace, faith, salvation, Gentiles being grafted in, circumcision of the heart, loving others, etc.) are actually found in the OT. And only by believing (and therefore obeying – John 14:15: 1 John 2:3 & 5:3; Rev. 14:12, etc.) the Scriptures can we ever hope to get practicing Jews to accept Christ. The Christ that many Christians preach today would be considered a false prophet according to the OT! (I think that’s in Deut. 13.) If a prophet comes preaching anything different than what’s in the Torah, or tries to change God’s laws, even if his prophecies come true and he works great miracles, they are commanded not to follow him.

    So many like to quote the last part of Joshua 24:15, but they ignore verses 22 & 23. Incline your hearts to the LORD (YHWH), the God of Israel. Why follow the God of Israel if you don’t want to follow His ways? Some like to say that these laws were just for the Israelites, but does God ever change? Were His laws perfect and righteous and good, only in the original Scriptures, and only for a certain group of people? Jesus said to do what the Pharisees preached from Moses (the Law), but don’t follow their oral, man made laws (Matthew 23:3).

    We say God’s law is written on our hearts, so we don’t have to follow the Torah, but if you look at Jeremiah 31:33, you’ll see He was talking to the house of Israel, and that new covenant is not yet complete ( not everyone knows the Lord). We are part of that house after being grafted in. Those laws are for us to live by as well, not for salvation, but for training in righteousness. We are told in Proverbs 3 to write God’s law on our hearts. We are blessed when we seek and follow His ways.

    But Christ has taken away the curse if we fail to follow His ways (Gal. 3:13) What a beautiful gift — we have the benefit of receiving all the blessings, but have no fear of receiving the curse of condemnation! So because I love the Lord, and believe all His Word is truth, I choose to follow His ways, including keeping His Sabbaths. (Luke 23:56, Acts 18:4, Hebrews 4:9) No where does the Bible say we shouldn’t follow God’s laws – Paul preached only against following God’s law FOR salvation, which is what many Pharisees preached along with adding their own set of laws.

    I want to encourage everyone to seek what is truth, and what is just tradition that came about after Christ. (Deut. 12:30, Mark 7:8) History has proven that the majority can get it wrong, like the Catholic church believing the earth was flat. There are many things Christians do that are tradition, forsaking the commandments of God. But we have been so programmed into believing the church and other Christians, and taking on their bias when trying to study Scripture. Remember, the writers were Hebrews/ Jews, so that is the point of view we should be reading from. We can still get saved by reading the Bible with our Western mindset, but we are missing out on growing closer and knowing deeper our Jewish Savior and our God of the Israelites. My husband and I have been even more abundantly blessed, the deeper we dig into the Truth. God’s Sabbath is just one part of it.

    “If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot
    From doing your own pleasure on My holy day,
    And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable,
    And honor it, desisting from your own ways,
    From seeking your own pleasure
    And speaking your own word,
    Then you will take delight in the LORD,
    And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
    And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
    For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Isaiah 58:13-14

    I didn’t mean for this to be so long, but I am passionate about the truth of God’s Word. I hope this all makes some sense — it’s late, and I’m really tired! But it is always worth it to share God’s Word. 🙂

    Love to all my dear sisters in Christ!

    1. Leslie,

      I love that you are passionate about the truth of God’s word and because of that, I am hopeful.

      Please consider, though, that if you are to follow the Torah, you must commit to follow every single command of the Torah. You just cannot pick and choose which of the commands to follow. And there are many that I believe you would have a hard time following.

      You will please God greatly by entering His true Sabbath rest….the rest that is found only in Jesus Christ that is talked about in Hebrews. I encourage you to study and wrestle with those Scriptures, opening yourself up to the Holy Spirit and His teaching – asking if anything is wrong about your beliefs, that you are willing to hear what He says.

      I say this in heartfelt love for you and desire for you to know what is yours in Christ.

      1. Leslie,

        I also love your heart for God and passion for His Word. There is MUCH we can glean from the Old Testament – it all points to Christ!

        I am so thankful that I no longer have to work on Sundays – what a blessing to focus on Christ, worship, and rest. I need that!!!!

        I do want to be careful about promoting Christians to follow all of the laws of the Old Testament because one of the heresies in the New Testament was committed by the Judiazers who demanded that all believers become Jews and follow the Law in order to be Christians. There was actually a council that met in Acts 15 in Jerusalem to determine if this was necessary. Here is what they prayerfully determined, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, to say to the Gentile believers throughout the world:

        ———–

        24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.

        Farewell.

        ———

        So, I want to be very cautious not to follow the route of the Judiazers – whose teachings were confronted and rebuked by Paul and New Testament writers over and over again.

        There are some things that apply from the Old Testament – God’s principles. But we are no longer required to obey all of the Law. We no longer need to sacrifice animals for our sin or worship at the temple. We no longer have to consider a woman having her period to be “unclean.” We no longer have to avoid eating pork. There were reasons why God gave many of the laws, so – there are some benefits in following that diet and, of course, in following hygienic practices. And there are promises in the Old Testament that do apply to us – and some commands and wisdom that we can greatly benefit from. This can get a bit confusing – and may require quite a bit of prayer and wrestling in Bible study. I realize I cannot begin to address all of it in one little comment. But, I do want to use great caution in this area.

        The fulfillment of the Law would be love – according to Christ. We have two primary commands now from Jesus:
        1. to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
        2. to love others as you love yourself.

        Matthew 22:
        37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

        Here are some verses about Judiazers http://www.openbible.info/topics/judaizers

        Here is a post about Judiazers from Got Questions http://www.gotquestions.org/Judaizers.html

        Much love! 🙂 I appreciate you sharing so very much!

      2. Jennifer,

        That is true – if we trust our works rather than the work of Christ on our behalf – we must follow all of the Law – which, of course, none of us can ever do.

        I love the passage in Hebrews 4 about the Sabbath rest that is Christ – especially verse 10!:

        Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

        “So I declared on oath in my anger,
        ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”
        And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.”5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”

        6 Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, 7 God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:

        “Today, if you hear his voice,
        do not harden your hearts.”
        8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

  8. I like considering how convictions fall in grey areas. My husband and I had a discussion earlier this week on grey areas. He was coming down hard on me for some things and out of respect for him I’ve made accommodations but he’d go easy on himself in the same category. It boiled down to a difference in culture rather than one option truly being better than another. Once he saw our choices were simply two sides of the same coin he paused. It’s easier to identify such things when we try to keep far from self righteousness. That’s so hard for me but it creates such clarity, especially for communication and agreement. I also like to remember that although I cant’ demand my spouse accommodate my convictions or my preferences (some say ‘needs’) it doesn’t mean that I have to stand there in cooperation and be tortured. I can politely remove myself from situations I’d rather not be part of. At the same time, it is a gift, an act of intimacy, that anyone bends themselves to understand my world and join me in what’s most important to my heart. Allowing room for growth in others as much as I allow room for myself is definitely a sign of increasing maturity.

  9. Goodness,
    I think I can see the wisdom in us keeping our convictions about the gray areas to ourselves as Paul wrote for us to do in Romans 14. Just talking about this topic – even in generalities – seems to create much confusion and disagreement. 🙁

    1. That is a great insight, April! God just used your two sentences to really highlight those verses to me in a new way. Thank you!

  10. Chari,

    I agree with you about sanctification and how our understanding deepens and our convictions certainly do change as God causes us to grow and mature spiritually.

    I don’t think we can take “sin” out of the conversation – because the entire point of this discussion, from my perspective, is that we are talking about areas that are not sin. But what I hear you say is that everything is either obedience or sin and there is no room for variation in areas that Scripture says are “disputable.”

    There will be some believers who have certain convictions even as they are more sanctified. Some convictions may not change. Others will. We never have freedom to disobey God or to rebel against His Word. But we do have freedom in Christ to do what we understand most honors Him even in areas where there is not explicit instruction.

    I am not sure that we are going to be able to come to agreement on this. But I do thank you so much for sharing your understanding and your convictions.

    Much love to you, my precious sister!

    1. Chari,

      And – I don’t believe that God is “confused” about what is right or wrong in “gray” areas. It is more of a matter of certain issues aren’t sinful one way or the other – the key is our motives in those areas and our desire to honor and please Him.

      Two more examples…

      Some Baptists, particularly, used to teach that it was always a sin to play any kind of card game or to dance at all ever. Does Scripture call all dancing sin? No. Does Scripture prohibit card games? No. David danced before God and God was pleased. The Jews had many kinds of group dances they did in celebration and praise for God. But if some people have a conviction that it is wrong to dance at all or wrong to ever play cards – even Go Fish – then is it ok for them to avoid those things as a matter of conscience? Yes, of course. But does that mean that no Christian can play Go Fish or dance in any way? No, not at all.

      God doesn’t call these things sin. They aren’t sin in His eyes (unless we are gambling or dancing in an immodest or provocative/immoral way – which would be sin). But if a person with weak faith believes these things are sin, then that person should avoid them because of his/her convictions because they believe that it would be sin.

      Thank you for trying to help me see your perspective. I am trying to understand clearly all that you are trying to say. 🙂

    2. April, I really appreciate how an individual explained “disputable matters”. A disputable matter is an opinion; not the standard God has set in the Bible. I believe we would both agree on that statement. Paul is addressing two disputable matters in Romans 14…whether to eat meat sacrificed to idols and days that are esteemed. Those are the only two “disputable matters” that are discussed. And yes, the Pharisees did try to add laws such as washing hands, but there is no Scripture that mandates a believer to do that. So, as far as many of the other topics you say are gray areas and, correct me if I’m wrong, you see as “disputable matters”, nowhere in Scripture does is say they actually are disputable matters (alcohol, how often to go to church, etc).

      As far as the examples you give as gray areas, in one comment you mentioned that you couldn’t possibly begin to address everything in a comment; that is true about each of the topics you mentioned. It may take quite a bit of prayer and wrestling in Bible study or the Holy Spirit may convict someone even before they even considered one of the areas. (The latter happened to me most every time God has convicted me).

      Two questions for you. Did you begin to wear skirts out of conviction from the Lord or was it a personal choice?

      Also, in the past year, has God convicted you of an area in your life that you have changed out of obedience to Him…if so, before that, was it a gray area to you and now it no longer is?

      1. Chari,

        I think I may have had a light bulb moment that may help us here. It is my understand that there are two kinds of conviction – and what I believe I am hearing from you is that there is maybe only one? If I am hearing you correctly?

        It’s my understanding that there is:
        1. the conviction of the Holy Spirit about sin
        2. personal convictions about preferences and areas that are not labeled as sin by God (opinions – exactly!) That is what I am referring to when I talk about “gray areas.”

        I think that much confusion comes when we try to take areas of opinion (personal conviction) and force them on others as if we were the Holy Spirit convicting people of sin. I hope that I am explaining that clearly.

        Romans 14 does not say that those two issues are the only disputable matters. There are many matters that are indisputable – things that the Bible clearly says are sin. Like homosexuality. But there is room for lots of things that are not intrinsically sinful to be “gray areas” where people have differences of opinion – what color of carpet is best for the sanctuary, how much our church should give for missions, whether we have our church meetings on Saturdays or Sundays, whether we have a worship service on Sunday nights or not, whether we meet in a sanctuary or in house churches, whether we serve food before Sunday School or not, whether we have communion every Sunday or once a month or every fifth Sunday, whether we have contemporary music or traditional hymns in our services, whether we have drums at church or not… These things are areas where we have choices that are not about sin – it is about seeking to do what we believe will most honor God in our hearts. And yet, some people do treat their preferences as if all believers must agree with them in these areas of opinion. That is what I believe Paul (and God) are saying we are not to do. And that is the point I was hoping to make in this post.

        Jesus drank wine. Paul encouraged Timothy to drink a little wine because the water was not clean and he kept getting sick. The Biblical principle is that we are not to get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit. Some believers would rather never drink alcohol than cause a stumbling block for others. I don’t drink alcohol for a number of reasons – but partly so that I don’t create a stumbling block for other people. But that doesn’t mean that it is sin for a believer to have a glass of wine once a month, or to have wine for communion at their church. My church uses grape juice. Some churches use actual wine. That is where we have a difference of opinion or personal preference and personal conviction.

        In the process of sanctification – which you describe so beautifully – God begins to convict us more and more of sin as we grow and mature. That is what God did with me and the issue of modesty. I knew the command to dress modestly. For many years, I thought I was dressing modestly. But 6 years ago, God began to speak to me about the jeans I wore every day because I was reading about how tight jeans could be a stumbling block for my brothers in Christ. Out of love for my brothers and respect, reverence, and obedience to God, I began to change the way I dressed. The biblical principle was to dress modestly. What exactly I decided to wear was a private issue of my heart and personal conviction as I sought to honor God’s leading.

        There are areas where God provides more and more illumination to us as we grow and mature. That falls under the first definition of conviction – that is the work of the Holy Spirit.

        There are other areas where God doesn’t specify exactly what He wants all believers to do because those things are not sinful in and of themselves – but if a believer regards something as sin, then for him/her in that area – that is sin because it violates his/her conscience.

        Much love to you!

        1. April, I also had a light bulb moment (I just love those!). I find the areas you call “gray areas” outlined in Scripture where you don’t see them in Scripture; so we are not going to see the topics you mentioned in the same way. Please know, they are not my opinion, they are the Word of God. My flesh is inherently sinful, so to go the opposite way of what my flesh wants is God working in me and not me choosing it. I hope that makes sense.

          I’m not trying to force or change anyone’s mind about any issue; if I’ve come across that way I’m truly sorry. I don’t believe there are grey areas to a Holy God because out of His great love for us, He desires us to be sanctified and allow Him to reveal His truth to us one step at a time. To throw off everything that hinders us and run this race. To live a life holy and pleasing to Him. To die to self daily. To want more of Him and less of me. To seek Him with all our hearts. To not get thrown in the belly of a whale if God tells us to do something and we don’t do it.

          I have to admit, this conversation is getting confusing on my end because not all my comments are showing up (possibly in your spam or maybe I didn’t get them sent properly; I’m not sure). And I’ve been conversing with several people and they are in numerous different places in this thread, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up with commenting back, but I do thank you for the time you’ve taken in commenting back to me; I do appreciate it.

        2. Question regarding your two ideas of conviction. Where does your personal conviction come from? Are you saying you, as a Christian, get to decide for yourself (apart from God) what is right and what is wrong for you because you don’t believe it’s in God’s Word?

          1. Chari,

            God’s Word does give us all of the information we need about the things God calls sin.

            I am going to just stop now – because it just doesn’t seem like we are understanding one another. But I love you dearly and I entrust you to God’s Spirit. He can certainly lead you and make things clear in ways I never possibly could.

            Thank you for explaining your views. I wish we could come to agreement, but I pray God will give us both His wisdom about this, that we might come into agreement with Him, that is the primary thing.

            Much love!

  11. April, Sorry, one more question. Do you believe homosexuality is a “disputable matter” or do you believe God has set a standard in His Word for homosexuality?

  12. April, this is not really a response to this post – I just wanted to say how impressed I am and enouraged by your knowledge of Scripture. So far, most of your work is marriage-based (and I understand why) but to see how thoroughly you have studied other passages is wonderful to see. Many Christians are satisfied to just “take” what is preached to them – but your understanding clearly belongs to someone who has “searched” for it. I want to encourage you in that passion! You’ve brought up a few issues that have really made me go digging myself – thank you for that. I have very few Christians in my life other than my family, and most are relatively sedate. Thank you for showing us your heart for God, and not just in marriage.

    1. Leah,
      How I long to be completely faithful to God and to His Word in every possible way. I still have so much to learn myself – and I will never ever stop learning. I’m excited about all that God will reveal to me in the coming months and years – if it is His will for me to continue here on this earth that long. 🙂 Please pray that God might give me His wisdom, His Spirit, and increasing maturity and His understanding. I don’t want to mishandle one Word of God’s. My primary mission is to train wives according to Titus 2:3-5, but I am also “disciple making” with the precious women God has brought here and want to handle all of God’s Word in a way that would honor and please Him alone.

      These discussions help to sharpen me and many others – and it is a wonderful opportunity to seek to speak truth in love as we treat one another with God’s love, gentleness, and respect.

      I’m glad that this makes you want to dig more. That is awesome! 🙂 May God continue to richly bless your walk with Christ for His greatest glory!

      1. April, you have ALL of God’s Spirit you will ever get! It is not a matter of you having more of His Spirit, but rather His Spirit having more of you! Loved this post AND all the insightful comments! Praise God!

  13. After reading most of the comments all I can say is wow. I am so happy we have freedom in Christ to make decision, have personal convictions which make our relationship with Jesus so much more intimate. if there is no gray area we would have to live by the law only, which voids Jesus. I’m not willing to do that. I’m so Glad Jesus is Lord and not other People.

  14. My wife has expressed a more conservative view of some biblical passages. As her husband what should be my response?
    I know of three ways to behave relating to offending the conscience (influencing others to act against their conscience) of those who hold to a more conservative viewpoint. The first is thinking that ones behavior does not affect the conscience of others or that it doesn’t matter. The second is that we should always default to the most conservative viewpoint so as not to offend the conscience of anyone. The third is that when in the company of someone with a “week conscience” we should behave in a way that would not offend them but when we are not in a position to be observed we should act according to our own conscience. This third alternative smacks to me of duplicity – being two-faced. I am sure that there is a correct and fourth option. How would you describe it?

    1. Dustin Cable,

      God’s Word describes two kinds of faith – weak faith and strong faith. I’m glad you brought this up, because with all the comments we have so far on this post, we haven’t talked about this topic yet somehow. Those with weak faith seem to not yet grasp the freedom we have in Christ and seem to be more bound by rules, maybe even by fear (that is my guess)? We do have freedom in Christ in some areas – not freedom to sin (we never have freedom or license to sin) – but to please God. Those with weak faith see many more rules than God actually has for us.

      Paul addresses those with strong faith:

      ROMANS 14

      Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

      5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

      10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:

      “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
      ‘every knee will bow before me;
      every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
      12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

      13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

      19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

      22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

      ——————-

      The conscience of the other person is of the highest importance to God, from what I see in this passage. Our being able to indulge in freedom to eat/drink/do what we want is not as important as the conscience of our weaker brother/sister. In marriage, that may mean honoring the weaker spouse’s conscience for the duration of the marriage so that that person is not destroyed by our exercising our freedom. We have freedom, but loving our spouse is more important, and protecting them from spiritual distress is more important than our freedom.

      Praying for wisdom for you!

  15. Here, I think all of us can agree:

    “He desires us to be sanctified and allow Him to reveal His truth to us one step at a time. To throw off everything that hinders us and run this race. To live a life holy and pleasing to Him. To die to self daily. To want more of Him and less of me. To seek Him with all our hearts. To not get thrown in the belly of a whale if God tells us to do something and we don’t do it.” – quote from our dear sister, Chari.

    I think we will all agree that only God has the authority and right to decide what sin is and that we all must obey God’s Word and walk in the power of His Spirit and be obedient to all that He instructs and prompts us to do.

    I don’t believe we will all agree about areas of personal conviction. I don’t think we have to agree on these areas – according to Romans 14. I also think we can extend grace to one another in these “disputable areas” and that we don’t have to condemn each other.

    What I would like to do at this point is to move us back toward our unity in Christ. In spite of our different understanding of Romans 14 and our different understanding of convictions and various levels of faith and sanctification – PRAISE GOD – we are one in Christ.

    Here is what Jesus, our Lord, prayed for us the night before He died on our behalf. This is where I would like to focus – the love of Christ for us, our love for each other, and the unity of the Body for the glory of Christ:

    JOHN 17

    20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

    24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

    25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

  16. All,

    Here is another passage of Scripture that can be helpful as we seek to honor God in these areas where we have freedom (but others might get tripped up) that relates very much to the disputable areas of Romans 14 – the primary emphasis is not our individual freedom in Christ, but our love for others, what is best for others, and to do what we can in order to keep other people with weaker consciences from stumbling:

    I Corinthians 10:

    “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

    25Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”

    27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

    31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

    ——–

    And I Corinthians 6:12 (which is in the context of avoiding sexual immorality and honoring God with our bodies in every way):

    “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.

  17. For those who are interested, here is a post about the beliefs of the Hebrew Roots movement that is gaining popularity among believers today and why this is not a movement we should endorse as Christians.

    I love my brothers and sisters who have espoused these beliefs, but I cannot give a platform for this theology on my blog. I do not believe it is Scriptural and I believe it may potentially be quite harmful, even though there may be some minor benefits.

    http://www.gotquestions.org/Hebrew-roots.html

    1. Thank you April for putting that link there. It hits home personally and I’m in prayer for spiritual restoration of my marriage, at least in part, because of the difficulties that came out of that particular movement.

  18. Good day April,

    This is such a wonderful post because a lot of things you mentioned as personal convictions are preached in many churches as truth and many people are made to feel guilty because they do not follow these personal convictions.

    Please can you kindly shed some more light on Tithing. I must be honest to say that I tithe because i felt it was a command to tithe. I have heard many preachers say that its a command to tithe, but i have also heard some preachers mention its about conviction. Do you have any post on this?

    God bless you my sister.

    Thank you

    1. I Choose to Respect Him,

      The Old Testament did have a command to tithe – which I discussed in greater detail in a previous comment in this thread – it was to provide for the Levites in the temple – and it was also the only “tax” that the people had until they had a king – so it took care of the theocratic government and religious (and even medical) needs of the nation which were combined in the duties of the Levites.

      The New Testament has commands for believers to give cheerfully to those in need, to sell their possessions and give to the poor, to be godly stewards of ALL that God has given us, to provide for our pastors financially so that they can preach, etc… but no specific command to tithe. Of course, the churches then were house churches and had no buildings to keep up. So – all of their giving was just for pastors and the needy.

      We are commanded to give to the poor, believers who are in financial distress in other places, believers in need in our church, and to take care of orphans, widows, the sick, the imprisoned, etc… We are to be fully submitted to Christ with all of our lives. We are to give according to what each of us have made up in our own minds to give, not under compulsion. I don’t see a specific amount that is commanded for us to give.

      My husband and I personally do tithe. But if a husband refuses to tithe or is not a believer and won’t tithe, I vote for the wife to pray about that issue and for her to let God know what she wants to give and let God move on her husband’s heart rather than secretly tithing behind his back or tithing over his objection – I don’t believe those approaches would honor God. God doesn’t “need” our tithes. He wants our obedience, yes, but if I have to sin in order to tithe, then – there is a problem. I shouldn’t be forcing my husband to give more than he wants to – 2 Corinthians 9:7 (below). A wife can gently, humbly share with her husband her desire to tithe and how she wants to tithe or what she wants to give. I believe that is our duty and responsibility. But we must be careful, prayerful, discerning, and filled with God’s Spirit’s wisdom if our husbands don’t want to tithe yet. I don’t have a post about this issue, because I would rather wives seek to honor their husbands’ leadership on this topic.

      The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

      Some believers give much more than a tithe – I think that is awesome! I know of some who live on 10% and give 90% to the church, the poor, missions, and those in need.

      Verses about tithing in the Old and New Testaments:
      http://www.openbible.info/topics/tithing

      LUKE 12:32-34
      “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. 33″Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. 34″For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

        1. Thanks, Eliza.

          I think this area can be confusing for a lot of wives. I know I used to think I should just give what I wanted to give even if Greg didn’t want to give as much (I wanted to give above the tithe) because God wanted us to be generous. But if I dishonored Greg and forced him into giving when he didn’t want to give – that would become a point of contention, division, resentment, and argument, rather than the joyful gift to God that our offerings ought to be.

          I have seen God change a lot of husbands’ hearts about tithing – and I know He is able to move in our husbands’ hearts in ways we never could to bring about a desire to give and to be more generous. I think we can pray toward that end as wives, and I believe God will bless our faith and our desire to give generously to Him. He can make a way for us – we don’t have to force it.

  19. Thank you so much for addressing this topic. I go to a church where everyone is supposed to have the same standards or they are not growing in God. There are a few of us that are not allowed to serve in some capacities because of this. One Sunday when I wore modest dress pants and a long loose shirt one of the ladies told me I needed to pray about what I wore. My husband tells me that what I wear is more modest than the dresses and skirts some wear. And advice for how to lovingly address the critical attitude? Your are such an encouragement to me.

    1. Jeni Lyn,

      Oh – that grates on my soul to read what a lady told you at your church. 🙁

      You have your husband’s approval. You know that you are dressing modestly in accordance with honoring God’s Word and that your heart is right before God. Thankfully, you do not answer to others at your church. You could choose to wear skirts and dresses so that their weak consciences are not defiled – just to seek to bless them and prevent disharmony. Or you could continue to wear what you are wearing if your husband is fine with it – realizing that you may be causing your brothers and sisters distress (that approach is difficult to justify in my mind – based on Romans 14, however).

      You could pray for God to work in their hearts. IF you believe God is prompting you to speak to this woman (after having the blessing of your husband) – it is possible you could try to speak to her. But here is the thing – most people have their own convictions and are not open to hearing about other people’s convictions. I am not sure that she could hear you or that she would want to hear you. She may not understand the freedom you have in Christ to wear modest dress pants and a long shirt. This may just create contention, division, resentment, and arguments – which would certainly disrupt the unity of the Body that Christ intends for us to have.

      What does your husband suggest that you do, my dear sister? I assume that he believes your family should attend this church?

      Much love to you!

      1. Jeni Lyn,

        Is it the pastor and leaders of the church who have created this dress code? Is it preached from the pulpit? If so – then I believe the most honoring thing to do if you must attend that church – would be to respect the authority of the leaders, even though you do have freedom in Christ to dress in modest pants and a long shirt.

        Does that make sense?

        The unity of the Body of Christ in your church and your willingness to honor and respect and submit yourself to the leadership there would be of greater importance than your freedom to wear other modest clothing in this situation, in my understanding. If the leaders of the church are asking the congregation to do something that is not sin – then, the members are to honor their leadership and submit to their leadership. (Spiritual Authority)

        1. April,
          Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my questions. I read your article about Spiritual Authority as well and it made me refocus and be reminded about what us the most important thing. You made me see that I should be concerned with glorifying God and honoring the authority over me. I saw that I had so much bitterness and I had to give this to God and I feel like a weight has been lifted. My husband thinks some things in the church are not the best but we are moving in about a year and he wants us to stay. I thought I was spiritual and I would be so critical of their convictions, ready to be hurt by anything they said or did. The convictions they choose is between them and God. The Lord has shown me I need to love my fellow church members and to come to church ready to encourage others instead of being consumed with what I do not like. It is sobering to think how we can come to church looking a certain way on the outside but on the inside be consumed with sin. Thanks again for turning me to the Scriptures. I have been struggling for months. I love your blog . It is like sitting down with other sisters in the Lord and being instructed.

          1. Jeni Lyn,

            You are most welcome, my dear sister!

            I praise God that He has shown you that toxic bitterness and that you are willing to honor those in authority at this church, even though you don’t agree. How WONDERFUL that you want to love your brothers and sisters and bless them now rather than focusing on having a critical, condemning spirit. I PRAISE GOD for that!

            It is pretty terrifying, to me, that we can “look the part” externally but be filled with sin. Just like the Pharisees whom Jesus called “whitewashed tombs.”

            May God use you to greatly bless, encourage, love, and honor your sisters and brothers at your church for the time you will be there with them. 🙂

  20. I still struggle with always “obeying” your husband —today is a case in point—we were driving to go pick up some saddle stands…I did the driving as my husband had a fever even though he insisted we go due to rain forecast—we were following behind a very long truck carrying an I- beam and I started to pass at his request when we got to a passing lane-where the road becomes 3 lane– 2 lanes in the same direction for passing. Steve kept saying speed up and I kept saying not yet…I just felt something was not right for passing even though the road was clear ahead even though he kept urging me to speed up, even the truck was sluggish with my foot on the pedal…..next thing we know the truck with its very long load was veering into our lane to go around a vehicle parked out in the road which I did not see. Had I blindly obeyed him and been speeding to pass we would have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. As it was were were still far enough back to avoid any collision.

    1. Esbee,

      There are times when God prompts us to do or to not do something. It seems to me that is what was happening with you yesterday. I’m so glad you were listening!!!! How thankful I am that you and your husband are safe! I would imagine your husband is thankful you hesitated at that moment, as well. 🙂

  21. Hi all, as true believers that are seeking God’s truth, I strongly suggest that we go back to the bible. God is holy, and only Holiness can enter into his presence. I agree with Chari on some of the many things she 1

  22. Yes I meant to say contention. Thank you for that correction. I’m just very careful about who I listen to. I was deceived before and I don’t want to be deceived again. But your right we are to try the spirits. 🙂 thank you.

    1. Submissive,

      I absolutely understand your concerns – and it is very important who we listen to. I certainly don’t want to espouse a “Bible teacher” who doesn’t have Christ as Lord or who teaches error or false doctrine. I, too, was deceived in many ways in my past – and I don’t want to go there. I think that prudence, caution, and being sensitive to God’s Spirit is critical – as well as making sure that the people who teach us teach in accordance with the Truth of the Bible. It needs to be okay to ask questions and to disagree and to seek answers as we are learning.

      May God richly bless your walk with Christ, my precious sister. 🙂

  23. Wow! What a wonderful testimony and how our wonderful, amazing God has and can continue to use your testimony! God is using you “for such a time as this”. I want to let my Bible Study Group know about your testimony, as we have a lot of women that need to read your blog. My own story has been so different then yours from birth on, and then after I met Jesus at 21, it has been a real journey (good and bad, for our good). I could relate so much with you about wanting to and fighting for control for too many years, so thus didn’t have the beautiful, God blessed marriage that God wanted for me (us). I am ashamed to say that I have had the long term, slow process of getting to where I (we) are today! The Lord has been working on me for so many years, but He never gave up and I Thank God, He didn’t. Everything came to fruition when we went to see “War Room” together in September of this last year. We worked on and set up our War Room and began really praying together, daily. We have not stopped and aren’t planning on stopping. God, has done so many miracles in our lives, since this time. We ask for and look for God appointments (to witness for Him) every day and God uses us in so many different ways. God has changed me and also my husband. We are one in Christ! You see, my husband is 73 and I am soon to turn 70. We have been married for 52 years and these are the best years of our lives. We know that we have a testimony to share about marriage also and we do share daily. To God be the glory, great things He has done and is doing!! Thanks again, June

    1. June,

      I am so pleased to meet you! How I praise God for His work in your life and in your marriage! That is WONDERFUL! I love War Room. What an incredible blessing – and something I never dreamed of praying for – a major motion picture that God would use to teach His principles to His people. WOW!

      Congratulations on your 52 years of marriage. I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for you, my precious sister! 🙂

  24. Hello! I’m just curious as to what your advice is if I feel convicted of something and my husband does not, and it’s something that needs to be agreed on. I. Felt convicted of the use of electronics in our home, while I don’t mind some things.. I’d prefer the t.v. Be used only for Christian shows or educational shows, however my husband lets the kiddos watch things that are for pure entertainment purposes with no other weight to them.. Except silliness. Iv also found he likes to watch some shows that are not Christian at all, iv talked to him about the t.v. And said that I believe the lord is convicting me, and a lot of the things I see on the t.v. Seem u pleasing to the lord and really bothers me. And he has said ” I hope you figure that out, and it stops bothering you.”. Iv also felt convicted about the holidays and how they are celebrated but he seems to be indifferent, but even in his indifference he doesn’t seem supportive in how I feel. Which bothers me a tinge. I feel like if he said.. I really think reading Amish love story books (I like to read them. Lol) is wrong, and this is why.. And they were reasons that aligned with Gods word, I’d say ok.. I don’t feel that way.. But who am I to argue with the Lord. I know he doesn’t have to submit to me, it’s the other way around.. But his response bothered me. Iv been praying the lord would put what he has laid on my heart onto my husbands. And I believe he will in his timing.. I guess it’s the waiting that is hard. And it’s confusing to me.. If my husband is the head of the home why would the lord place these things on my heart instead of my husbands? It would seem like it makes more sense for the lord to convict my husband first. Also I have a hard time being graceful with my words when bringing these things up. I don’t want to say.. You watched such and such. Show?? Did you not hear the language?!? Did you not see the secularness in he entire thing!?! .. How would I gently say.. Do you really think it’s a good idea to watch this? Without sounding condescending or authoritive rude ect. Thanks!

    1. Anonymous,

      These are important questions!

      I can relate very much. I would personally rather not even have a TV in the house. I definitely have concerns about worldliness. My husband does not have the same convictions I do. I can say, “I would rather not watch things with X, Y, or Z in them, please.” But I respect his convictions and do not try to push my convictions on him. I just don’t watch TV myself – with the exception sometimes of the news. Sometimes I will watch something with him to bond with him or we will watch something as a family. If it were something that really violated my conscience – I would personally not watch, and I may request that the children not watch.

      God can communicate with our husbands about their convictions in His timing. One of my prayer partners has shared with me that people with my personality (which is very intense like hers) can be tough to live with. And that God sometimes gives dads with different convictions to create balance for children. It can be a difficult balance to try to get rid of worldliness in our homes but also to not be legalistic or controlling about that.

      My job is to love God wholeheartedly myself and to love my husband and children with the love of God. My job is not to be the Holy Soirit. I tried to do that for over 14 years and I repelled everyone. They did not see the fruit of the Soirit in me during that time. I was negative, grumpy, irritable, bitter, condescending, complaining, judgmental, and controlling.

      It helped me to see that my husband watching a tv show for entertainment is not necessarily sin. But those attitudes in my heart sure were. I want to be responsible for my obedience to God and I want to repent of any sin in my heart.

      We can pray for God’s wisdom for our husbands. But if it is a matter of personal conviction – whcih this issue is – I believe we can allow our husbands to have their own convictions and we can respect their convictions without our freaking out. Our husbands are on a journey, too. We can trust God to work in their hearts over a lifetime. We can be patient and offer grace, mercy, and understanding – especially about things like this, I believe. We can step back and trust the Holy Spirit to do His job in His way and His timing.

      If a husband is watching porn or something seriously awful – a wife may need to confront him. But it would need to be with great humility and respect.

      Much love!

      1. The intense person conversation is interesting to me.

        I wonder about this too. I lived with a friend for a while who was TOTALLY at the other end of the spectrum and people were often irritated like he couldn’t be serious about anything. He’d laugh at you if you showed intensely serious thought or feeling. He was an easygoing guy in a lot of good ways too, though.

        He would totally say that I was too intense and overthink things and I’d say the opposite.

        I drink on very rare occasions (without getting drunk) and sometimes I later wonder if my life could be easier if I could figure out how to slow my gears down a bit on my own. People laugh when I say this, but after a couple, I talk to normal people and it’s suddenly “wow this conversation with this person is REALLY interesting all of a sudden.” 😛 I think the Lord is leading me in this area lately.

        It’s a good thought that personalities balance out, too, and that can be something to consider when looking for a spouse–a good counterbalance with enough in common. I really like the idea of diversity in personalities like that in relation to the Body of Christ. It’s easy to see, I think, the benefits of a variety of types of people.

        I can think of a couple passages about debatable issues like the TV thing.

        Colossians 2;20-23

        20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

        1 Corinthians 10:23
        “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.

        I think of it like, it’s not so much as what exactly someone is watching or doing. I can’t relate to watching sports at all, and something extreme like porn or gratuitous violence I don’t have a positive use for. It just depends. With more debatable material, it’s a question about what it’s doing for a person (“what is he getting out of doing that?”) more than anything–in all ways acknowledge Him. I think the Lord can lead a man towards activities that we don’t always understand or relate to.

        1. JC,

          My husband definitely helps to balance me out. I would probably get rid of all of the TVs and video games and sell our house and 90% of our stuff and move into a really basic, no-frills, small house if it were all up to me. I would rather we do ministry than entertainment. But if I had free reign, I may completely overwhelm our children and stress them out.

          Thank you for sharing and for the Scripture passages. Ultimately, God sees and judges the motives of each of our hearts in ways we cannot accurately judge. And He is able to direct our husbands, even when we don’t agree. Sometimes, we will even see later that God used our husbands’ decisions for our good or our children’s good in ways we could not have foreseen.

  25. So…here’s a question which comes up often in our home. My husband has multiple work parties and events which he has to attend. He wants me to come. There is usually a DJ and dancing and drinking at the events. Most of the women (women whom he works with daily) come dressed in very immodest clothing. They are extremely friendly/huggy with him. My husband likes to dance but says I’m not good at it and he doesn’t want me to dance. He wants me to sit at the table and smile while he dances with his coworkers. It makes me very uncomfortable even though they’re not touching, just fast dancing together. I have tried telling him how it makes me feel, but he says I’m “uptight and judgmental”. I have tried not going, but he complains about that too, and he does seem to like it that I am there. He has a high level position and this issue is likely to continue….I am completely at a loss on how to handle this peacefully as a Christian wife. He is also a believer….but me being hurt about this seems to make no difference to him at all.

    1. hummingbird1,

      How is your walk with Christ going? What do you believe God may be prompting you to do? Are there any other Christian wives there in a similar predicament?

      They are not dancing in an erotic or romantic way together?

      Would you want to dance, too?

      1. My walk with Christ is going well. I have learned and grown so much over the past few months. I am focusing on respecting my husband and not controlling him, and not having him be an idol either. My marriage is in a much different place….but I still have a very hard time addressing issues like these.

        I don’t know of any other Christian wives at these events. No one else’s husband dances without their wife. The dancing is to modern, hiphop/club music and so most of it is suggestive/explicit, and the dancing is sensual. Most people don’t dance. I used to dance with him many years ago but he would make fun of me and put me down….so no, at this point, I don’t want to dance either! Plus the music really bothers me. But I don’t say anything about that, or the clothes and drinking. I know that is the world we live in.

        But I am hurt he would want to dance with other women and I KNOW the message it sends to them. So I am trying to decide what God would want me to do: Stay home and be sad and leave this issue between God and my husband, or go, and act like it doesn’t bother me?

  26. I have an huge fear a Hell and am having difficulty with personal convictions. I feel like one slip and God will cast me away. I am having difficulty discerning my thought from Satan’s or the Holy Spirit. I constantly pray to God for guidance and repentance. I have heard issues such as makeup, comic books, eating at restaurants on Sundays, being in church every time the door is open are essentials to one’s salvation. I desire to go to Heaven at all costs. I do enjoy sports on TV and do not feel like God wants to take everyone enjoyment from me. Any guidance would be greatly considered.

    1. Jason Keeling,
      I’m so thankful you are reaching out for help!

      It sounds to me like maybe you have been at a church where there were a lot of rules, guilt, fear, and maybe legalism that were taught?

      Let’s look at what Scripture says about these kinds of issues. Where do you see verses that support these ideas, or are they man-made rules?

      What does the Bible say about how we can have fellowship with God and how we can be right with Him? Where is our hope?

      Much love in Christ, my dear brother!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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