We make “black and white” decisions daily. Some decisions are clearly spelled out for us in Scripture – instructing us what we should do (pray, walk in the Spirit, give thanks, edify and love one another) and what we should not do ( immorality, lying, stealing, adultery, idolatry, etc.).
“Gray areas” are those areas about which Scripture is silent and does not give specific instructions. So, how do you decide what to do then? Use these seven tests after you have determined that the Scripture is silent concerning the specific issue in question:
1. Does it glorify God? (1 Corinthians 10:31)
2. Is it beneficial or profitable to my relationship with Christ?
(1 Corinthians 6:12a; 1 Corinthians 10:23; Philippians 4:8)
3. Will it master or tend to control me? (1 Corinthians 6:12b)
4. Will it cause a weaker brother to stumble? (Romans 14:13; 1 Corinthians 8:9-13)
I have the liberty to do certain things which are not wrong for me. But because of my love for the weaker brother, I do not do them because I do not want to cause him to stumble.
An example would be someone who doesn’t have a problem drinking a glass of wine with dinner, knowing he is not going to overdo it and let it lead to drunkenness. However, if he is having dinner with someone who has struggled with alcoholism in his past or would not be able to handle alcohol, he would refrain from having the glass of wine out of concern for his “weaker brother” that might not be able to handle it or mistake it as a “green light” to drink all he wants.
5. Will it build up and edify other Christians? (Hebrews 10:24-25; Philippians 2:4)
6. Will it destroy any credibility I have as a Christian and thereby hinder my testimony to non-Christians? (1 Corinthians 10:32; 1 Corinthians 9:19-20)
7. Does my conscience condemn me? (Romans 14:22-23)
A good rule of thumb to use when making decisions in the gray areas: when in doubt, don’t do it.
What are some gray areas you have had to decide about? What helped you in making a decision?