Recently my daughter and I had a conversation about clothing choices; what was going to be appropriate for the activity. It was difficult because she was going to be starting her evening off with one activity but ending with something completely different. She wasn’t sure how she should dress; should she compromise what we would normally wear for an event in public so that she would already be wearing what she needed for something far more casual? Or should she change clothes? It was a great teaching opportunity; all of the moms reading this understand what I’m saying. When these opportunities present themselves we need to seize the chance to talk about what we believe and why.
We discussed our family’s choices for appropriate attire and why we dress this way. We talked about Biblical principles and how they apply to our lives. Then I told my daughter that after you have made your decision you must be convicted that this decision is the right one.
That conversation has really been on my mind a lot since then. Often we make choices or decisions and then second guess ourselves. What is the point of making a decision then spending time wondering if it was the right one or not?
Romans 14:1-13 discusses judging a brother (or sister) in Christ. “He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.” (Verse 6) Paul tells us that we need to be very careful judging someone by our own standards. When there is freedom of opinion different people will make different choices and we must respect that.
But he also tells us that when we set our standards for our own lives, we must be convicted. Verse 5 says, “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.”
When I make a decision for the standards I am going to maintain in my life I need to be sure these decisions are the right ones and stand firm. James tells us in James 1:6 that, “he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.” Do not doubt but stand firm in the choices you have made.
How can we be sure our choices are the right ones? In Acts chapter 2 we read about Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost. In response, the people who were listening were, “cut to the heart” and asked, “what shall we do?” (verse 37) They were convicted that their lives were not right and also wondered what the right choice would be. Verses 40-47 tell us the result of this question. Those who gladly received the Word were baptized and “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
First, we need to study what God’s word has to say. Just as the first Christians continued in the apostle’s doctrine, we also need to be in the Word. Second, we need to spend time discussing our thoughts and concerns with fellow Christians, just as they continued in fellowship with one another. Finally, we need to pray about our choices. This is a key point and probably should be at the beginning of our decision making process, in the middle, as well as at the end.
Then, once we have made our decision, we need to remain firm. Do not let doubts cause you to second guess your choices. If you have truly studied and prayed and made a firm, Biblical decision, do not allow Satan to pull you from your position. Ephesians 6:16 says, “. . . above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Have faith in the standards that you have set and stand firm against Satan’s “fiery darts.”
A word of caution, however. We must not be so set in stone that we cannot see when the choices we have made are truly the wrong ones. We always need to be open to the Word of God and be willing to hear when we need to make changes. The standards my husband and I have set for ourselves have changed a lot over the years. At first we conducted ourselves according to the standards set by our parents. Then when we had children we had to make adjustments. We needed to know why we believed what we believed and be able to teach it to a new generation being raised in our home. Finally, as our children grew into adulthood we realized there were inconsistencies in our standards, so we spent time studying and praying and making new standards for our mode of dress and behavior. Each time we made changes we went to God’s Word to find what He wanted for us.
But when we make choices be firm, be strong and be faithful. Do not be like the church in Laodicea which was lukewarm; neither hot nor cold (Revelation 3). Sometimes we may discover that our choices were wrong, and we need to be humble enough to accept that correction and grow from it, but until that point we don’t want to be like that wave of the sea we looked at in James. Rather, we need to be the anchor that holds us firm in the hope of our calling.
So, study, pray, discuss and decide. Then be convicted. My daughter decided the right decision was to wear clothes appropriate for the situation and brought a change of clothes for cleaning afterwards. I was proud of her mature choice and I pray all my children remain convicted of the standards they set for their lives, based upon Biblical principles.
By Fern Boyle
Fern Boyle is a homeschooling mom of six kids who lives in Enid, Oklahoma. Her husband, Doug, is an elder in the church of Christ at Garriott Road, and a pilot in the military, having served in both the Marine Corps and Air Force. Their time traveling from coast to coast has blessed them with friends in the church all across the country as well as many opportunities to grow as Christians. Fern enjoys running, hiking, reading and teaching ladies Bible class. She used to have other hobbies but then she had more kids. Her children are what she loves most, however, watching them grow and develop into wonderful young men and women.