Tim gives some practical examples of identifying things in your life which are not necessarily bad but should be replaced with that which is better and more excellent.
Do you have anything in your life that you have to argue with yourself about? You repeatedly have to try and persuade yourself. You know it. There’s a thing in your life. The Spirit keeps bringing it to your mind. Your conscience keeps telling you and you keep arguing, “No, it’s right, it’s right, that’s ok, it’s not sin!” Beware of things like that. Or things that your not willing to investigate. You just want to do it, and your not going to give a lot of time thinking about it. If you got things in your life that you can’t honestly bring before the Lord in prayer and ask for His guidance, His counsel, His direction, and examine thoroughly in light of Scripture; if you have things in your life that you are not willing to do that with, it’s because you don’t want to know.
How about things you could quickly spot if you saw them in someone else? You see in their life, “Hey, that is not good.” But, when it’s in your life, it kind of looks different to you.
I ask myself this too. People often wear the band “What Would Jesus Do”; do you ask yourself, “Would Jesus do this?” Because you know what, if there ever was a fleet footed runner. It was Him. He ran the race to perfection, and He ran well. He ran in faith. He trusted His Father. He believed His Father. He held to the promises of His Father. He ran perfect. Watch how He runs. Would He have put that thing in His life? Even if it’s not sin, would He have allowed that in His own life?
How about this: things that you’ve been convicted in your life that you have thrown away, that you later picked back up. It may be okay. There are seasons when certain things we should have tossed away; then there are seasons when they may be appropriate again. I’m not saying it’s absolute, but it’s worth thinking about. Things that at one time you were convinced that you shouldn’t have in your life, you came to later justify.
One of the things I thought about too is just a bunch a baggage in your life that is all about yourself. I mean, just ‘stuff’ in your life. It’s not unlawful, but the majority of stuff in your life, the weight in your life, it’s all about you. Your life is not largely filled with the kind of stuff that shows that you are really living to love other people. Think about this: stuff in your life that isn’t just NOT unlawful, it may in some respects be good, but you could replace it with stuff much better.
I’m often reminded of Paul’s words in Phillipians 1:9-10. “It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent…” I often think of that. When I was a young Christian, I heard John MacArthur do a sermon on that text. He really hammered that into my head. Don’t give your life simply to what is good. Strive for excellence! A lot of times we have to think that way.
I heard this somewhere: some guy had a pair of running shoes on and he was out training. But when it got time for the race, he put on a different pair of running shoes. So somebody asked him about it. He said, “Well, these are lighter.” They were so light. It’s this kind of thing: a pair of running shoes is good, but a lighter pair of running shoes is better if you want to make it to the end; if you want to do really well. Christians must discard a lot of ‘good’ things. That’s the thing: if you look down this path that the Christian runs, it’s got all these ‘weights’ discarded along the side. A lot of the things are likely going to be good things. And the better you run this race, the more good stuff that’s likely going to be on that. Not because you got rid of the good, to replace it with the bad; you got rid of the good to replace it with better, with that which is excellent.
I mean, it’s just madness that professing Christians fill their lives with so much garbage!
I just marvel at it.
I’ll just leave you with this thought about examples of weights: What you conclude is a weight in your life, may not be in somebody else’s. You be slow to judge what others allow. There’s a place to encourage people to think about these things, but be careful before you condemn somebody else. Because you may actually find what somebody else allows may actually be helpful to them in a way that you never really figured out.