Everyone alive has been wrong at some point in time no matter how right you think you are. We make errors in judgment, there’s oversights, and sometimes we just didn’t know. Yet, many times we “don’t know” because we actually failed to take the time to become familiar with what we could have known or even should have known.
If I apply, am interviewed and take a new job then I’m going to receive a copy of the policy manual.. This manual will cover how I’m to interact with others in the company, who I am accountable to and various other areas of protocol. I’ll most likely be given a job description which outlines my position and what I’m expected to do within this position. It is essentially the plan for my employed life at the company. If you are ever wrong in anything or need to be corrected as an employee then the documents that will always be referred to are the policy manual and your job description. It won’t be (at least it shouldn’t be) based on someone’s personal expectations of you apart from those two documents or their case against you will be invalidated.
How can a believer know he is effective as a believer? I guess it should be stated that an effective believer is not one who just attends church every Sunday. Being part of a body of believers is good and even necessary (Hebrews 10:24-25), but it is not everything. Our lives must be compared to two things: The policy manual (God’s Word) and the job description (Jesus). If we are not following the policy manual and job description we’ve been given as believers then we are less effective than we could be if we obeyed fully or we may not be effective at all.
It’s not up to each of us to decide what is good or bad, right or wrong, in the light or of the darkness. Just as you can’t re-write your own job description or unilaterally modify policy, the believer cannot revise or change the type of life he is to lead or what God expects. If God’s Word says not to steal then the believer won’t re-write policy and say it is wrong except for anything under $5.99. When he is corrected, his efforts to justify himself based on his personally revised policy will be overruled by the actual policy found in God’s Word and Christ’s life. When God’s Word speaks of seeking Him first, the believer can’t one day say that he will seek God and some other preoccupation first. You can’t put two priorities first….you can only have one first priority. God’s policy clearly states He must be first, so to do anything less is failing to live by what we were handed (His Word and the life of His Son) when we accepted Him.
Can you imagine what would happen if you decided to change your job description by being determined to do something else you felt was important and then defend your effectiveness? A child of God cannot live however he pleases and then expect God to accept it. If you are ever going to be truly effective for the Kingdom of God and follow after the life of Jesus, you are going to have to stick with God’s policy and description for your life (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
As believers, we may be need to be corrected at times. I find the Spirit of God correcting my life continually because there is much about my life which is ungodly. It’s God’s desire to refine this from my life, and I can speed up the process by absorbing the policy manual (God’s Word) and apply it to my life, so I can live like Jesus (Job Description). Let’s not forget either how God does use His people to lovingly correct us too. We can be offended at correction, or we can embrace it as a process which brings about a healthy result and is able to assist our grow, so we can mature in our faith. That choice is always ours.
We aren’t perfect, and no one will be until they come into eternity with Him. For now though, rather than have an, “How should I know?,” attitude, let’s be people who read God’s Word intentionally, so we can know it, and follow after Jesus so we can live it!