After God sets us apart unto Himself through our new birth there comes the call to be holy as He is holy. While we are set apart by Him, we have a choice to set ourselves apart for Him. The awesome and wonderful reality of this is that He has done so much for us and does so much through us to help us in this. We are set apart by Him, adopted by Him, indwelt by Him, eternally sealed by Him, forgiven by Him, and so much more! We are not who we used to be, we are no longer slaves to sin or under the law, we are positioned to live out the plans He made for us and that He works out Himself through us! The battle against sin takes on a whole new look when we stop thinking of ourselves as failures simply made up and prone to sin, and instead think of ourselves as God's children, set apart by God, with God in us, and with God's promise that no temptation is too much for us to resist! Does the ability to sin still remain? Yes. Is there still a devil trying to tempt us? Yes. But the equation is dramatically different when we realize who we are in Christ and what He is in us.
In our desire to live a life holy, set apart unto God, there comes the natural question of what is OK and what isn't. While the New Testament has lots of things in it we should or shouldn't do, there are many, many situations in our lives that come up that it doesn't specifically address. What follows are some questions (with the verses they are drawn out of) that can help us evaluate a choice or course. Some came from a book by Jerry Bridges on being holy, and others are ones I felt God led me to.
#1: Psalm 119:11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Q: Does the Bible say something about it?
#2: Hebrews 1:3a [Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature . . .
Q: Is it consistent with God's nature as revealed through Jesus' life?
#3: 1 Corinthians 6:12a "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. . . .
Q: Is it helpful (spiritually, physically, mentally)?
#4: 1 Corinthians 6:12b . . . "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything.
Q: Does it bring me under its power?
#5: 1 Corinthians 8:13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
Q: Does it hurt others or make them stumble?
#6: 1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Q: Does it glorify God? (At a minimum for things that may not glorify God, we need to make sure it doesn't disparage God's glory.)
#7: James 4:17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
Q: Am I NOT doing something God is asking?
#8: Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Q: Are you following the Spirit's lead in action or inaction? (This is huge and actually ties into many others. For example, #9, about loving, only the Spirit can show us what form that love takes at that moment.)
#9: Matt 22:37b-40 [Jesus] said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
Q: In this action (or inaction) are you loving God and others above all else?
I hope that these help. Certainly we could add a lot more questions to this list, but in the interest of keeping it usable I kept it to this length. May God bless you this week with a deep awareness of His holiness, His love for you, and His presence with you.