The right question
“Can I go to that particular movie?”
“Does the Bible permit Christians to drink alcohol?”
“Can I ___________?”
Christians frequently ask themselves and others questions like these, primarily when they are considering doing something that could appear worldly. They feel what they want to do is borderline, so they try to validate it by proving there is nothing in the Bible that specifically prohibits it.
But this is not the right kind of question ... or the right attitude. To paraphrase revivalist Charles Finney, the question is not “May I do this?” but “How will this affect the Kingdom?”
The term holiness has come to have a negative connotation, synonymous with legalism. It is seen as sternly dictating what one can and cannot do. John and Charles Wesley helped this definition along by drafting rules to live by for their Holy Club. John Wesley’s intention was pure. But he had the cart before the horse. He did not have a conversion experience until years after drafting his lists.
But the biblical meaning of holiness is not a set of rules. It more rightly means separation — from the world, and to God.
The apostle Paul said, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13, NKJV).
The truly liberated believer does not seek to get as close to worldly ways as possible, but as far from them. He considers how his liberty might influence others.
On many occasions I have heard our general superintendent, Thomas Trask, say, “It’s not about the Assemblies of God; it’s about the kingdom of God.” That says it all. It’s not about me; it’s about others.
When you are considering doing something doubtful, don’t ask if you can do it. Ask the right question: “Lord, how will this affect Your kingdom? How will it affect others?”
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