Don't Go Back To Legalism - Christian Daily Devotions

May 22 2006

Don't Go Back To Legalism - Verse of the Day : My defence to those who examine me is this: Do we have no right to eat and drink? Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?
-1 Corinthians 9:3-5

Daily Bible Reading Plan

Morning : 1 Corinthians 9

Evening : 2 Kings 5-6

Don't Go Back To Legalism

We must never be a stumbling block to the weak in faith. But at the same time, you must not allow people to abuse this principle and lure you back into legalism.

Usually, the line of reasoning is like this: "If others do not like the things you are doing, then you should not do it." So if people do not like you to be speaking in tongues, wearing certain clothing, dying your hair, then you should stop doing them.

Then even Jesus Himself could not measure up to that standard! Jesus constantly offended people. He offended the Pharisees by healing on the Sabbath, by going to parties and hanging around with sinners, prostitutes and tax collectors.

If Jesus had to always worry about not upsetting people, then He would have been paralysed by the fear of men. But the truth is that you will always find someone who will disagree with your personal preferences and tastes.

There are many Christians who often use the phrase "stumbling block" as a cover up for two problems they have--envy and jealousy.

May 22 - Don't Go Back To Legalism - Christian Daily Devotions

Thought the Bible says that we should not allow our freedom to become a stumbling block to others, it never says that if someone has a different opinion or viewpoint from you about something you like, then you would have to stop liking it immediately. That is surrendering your freedom in favor of legalism. You are letting others control your life!

So, what really is a "stumbling block?" A stumbling block is any word or action that will cause another Christian to fall back into a former sinful lifestyle. It does not refer to the actions or words that people do not approve of. A stumbling block is something that causes a weaker Christian to sin against his own conscience.

Some legalistic people were trying to lay a guilt trip on Paul. From 1 Corinthians 9:1-13, they called Paul's lifestyle as a preacher a "stumbling block."

Paul retorted that he had done nothing to be ashamed of. He said, "I have my rights but in certain situations, I limit them. But don't expect me to limit them all the time. When I'm not with the weak, I don't have to act like the weak. When I'm not with the legalists, I do not have to worry about my own freedom. But in every situation, I do show regard to the people around me."

Is Paul being a hypocrite? Not at all. He is being loving and showing care and concern for other people's feelings. That is saying: "I would not do anything that would cause you to stumble in your conscience. However, when it comes to amoral issues like personal preferences and tastes, I am not going to stop liking whatever I like just to please my critics."

May 22 - Don't Go Back To Legalism - Christian Daily Devotions

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