Our western culture has a guarded approach to personal opinions: the right to express an opinion is fiercely defended, but unwanted opinions are quickly tossed aside with a brutal, “Oh, that’s just your opinion.”
In some church circles opinions have begun to usurp the authority of Scripture. How often do you hear people explaining their views on a subject without thoroughly investigating what the Bible says? When Christians fail to take God’s word as the final authority, opinions begin to spread like viruses and cause epidemics of false thinking.
As people of the kingdom of God our approach to opinions should be different than that of the world. Paul had a healthy perspective on his own opinions; he recognized that they had less value than a direct word from the Lord. For instance, he said,
Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy.
A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 7:25, 39-40.See also vv. 6, 12)
The true church of Jesus will never slide off the foundations of the word of God. Any church that begins to shift is in danger of ceasing to be church. The word of God includes His fresh, timely prophetic words spoken to the body and His inner voice to individuals; but God’s words are always consistent with Scripture—His written word.
Paul rated his own opinions less than the Lord’s words. Nonetheless, he was careful to keep the quality of his opinions as high as possible. The value of Paul’s views depended on his trustworthiness and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Ironically, Paul’s words became part of the New Testament because the early church leaders recognized them as inspired. Our words will never become Scripture, but if we are careful about what we say, we are more likely to have a lasting and helpful impact. So, how can you increase the value of your words?
- Make the Bible the foundation of your life by reading it and applying it.
- Ask for the anointing of God’s Spirit.
- Invite God to make your character more like His.
- Practice quality control—aim to speak more things that come from God to bless and edify people, and less negative or trivial things.
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