In my novel, True Status, one issue the characters grapple with is who gets to decide what is right and wrong. In the real world, each individual has the God-given responsibility to make correct judgments about right and wrong. Does that mean each person gets to decide what is actually right and wrong for them? Yes and no. In Romans 14, the apostle Paul discusses disputable matters in which each person can decide for themselves what is right and wrong. Paul provides examples of things like foods you may not be comfortable eating and certain days that you might view as sacred.
5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. (Romans 14:5-6 NASU)
In these matters each person must decide what is right for them and we should not judge the person for their choice. The critical point in these matters is that the decision must be based on faith; their intent is to please the Lord.
In other matters, those that are not disputable, we must determine what pleases the Lord based on what God’s word teaches. Sometimes it’s a challenge to understand the Lord’s will, but usually the problem comes down to a simple question. Are you willing to do to what the Bible teaches or are you going to do what you want? I recently attended a Bible class that focused on the question of whether we are going to be controlled by our flesh or by the Holy Spirit. The main scriptures were from Galatians 5.
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 NASU)
You and I normally know what is right and wrong, but we just don’t want to do it. We’d rather practice immorality instead of disciplining our mind and body. We’d rather cuss someone out more than control our tongue. We prefer yielding to envy and jealousy rather than being grateful for who we are and what we have. It doesn’t have to be that way, if we place ourselves under the control of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome all these temptations.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26 NASU)
In both disputable and indisputable matters, there is one overriding question that we should dwell on. What pleases the Lord? Let’s walk by the Spirit.