Woodland Christian Church
Why do we do what we do? Ever wonder that? What guides our behaviors. We know that animals operate on instinct alone. They do whatever their flesh demands. And there is no inner law that guides them. Admittedly, they may be trained (ala Pavlov) to behave in new and better ways.
But why do we do what we do? It makes sense that every action is preceded by a thought. Sometimes, not much thought. And there are times when our actions go against our very will. In fact, the Apostle Paul said, “That which I want to do… I don’t do; and that which I don’t want to do…that’s the very thing I do.” (cf. Romans 7:19) Of course he’s talking there about our struggle against the flesh.
You see, while we walk this earth the flesh will be part of our reality. The sign of struggle, in my opinion, is a very good sign. Many in our world have no struggle… like the animal kingdom, they do what their flesh dictates…no problem. But we have Christ’s Spirit in us that causes the struggle against selfish flesh.
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit from God would convict the world of sin, and guide the believer into righteousness. (cf. John 16:8; 2 Peter 1:3) But, assuming that we have the Holy Spirit, and that we are surrendering more and more of our attitudes, thought patterns, and behaviors to Him… will our actions always be pleasing to God? Not necessarily. I’ll tell you why.
I was reading in Romans 15, this morning; in my Bible entitled, The Law of Liberty. And in that we find that even behavior that we aren’t convicted about can be behavior that is not approved to God, because of its potentially offensive nature. Apparently God wants us to be considerate of our brother’s and sister’s in Christ who may be vulnerable to sin or convicted in ways that we are not. And, if our actions, though we may be confident that they are approved by God, causes our brother or sister to sin, they are wrong. And, in that situation we are wrong for practicing them.
Now, this is called the Law of Liberty. But more accurately, I think we could call it the Law of Love. In fact, before this passage… in Ch. 13, vs. 8 we find that we have a debt of love to be paid. A debt owed to Christ that can never be re-paid. And Vs. 10 says clearly, “Love does no harm to a neighbor…” Read it. And after this passage, in Ch. 14, vs. 15, we read, “If your brother is grieved because of your food (drink, or behavior) you are no longer walking in Love.”
So, while this teaching may be in consideration of what we might believe to be our “liberty” in Christ, Love trumps everything. Paul’s conclusion… actually in the start of the next chapter, beginning with vs. 2, “Let each of us please his neighbor, for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself.”
Beyond the decision whether something is right or wrong for me … The Law of Love challenges us to consider what may be right or wrong for us to practice, in view of our neighbor. This shouldn’t surprise us as Jesus Himself said, “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (cf. Matthew 5:20)
Thank God for Grace, we, who are often selfish and thoughtless, are imputeth with His righteousness. (cf. Romans 4:6) But, that doesn’t mean that we don’t endeavor to “walk in the way of love, just as Christ gave Himself up for us.” (cf. Ephesians 5:2)
Why do we do what we do? Love!