precautions?

©2021 dan bulkley | ask@lifefellowship.org

precautions?

section 1

Safety and security are not a given in this life. In fact, they are a delusion when we think that we can make ourselves and our loved ones safe proverbs 18:11 jeremiah 5:17 . God can bring disaster whatever precaution we take job 9:12 proverbs 21:30 job 42:2 ecclesiastes 7:13 . Clinging to safety and precaution can become a debilitating obstacle to our service of the Gospel proverbs 28:1 proverbs 29:25 galatians 6:12 . So, we should never make decisions from selfish fear, but from faith hebrews 13:5-8 , for cowardice is a deadly sin revelation 21:8 .

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supporting scriptures

proverbs 18:11

11 A rich man’s wealth is his strong city,

and like a high wall in his imagination.

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jeremiah 5:17

17 They shall eat up your harvest and your food;

they shall eat up your sons and your daughters;

they shall eat up your flocks and your herds;

they shall eat up your vines and your fig trees;

your fortified cities in which you trust

they shall beat down with the sword."

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job 9:12

12 Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back?

Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’

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proverbs 21:30

30 No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel

can avail against the Lord.

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job 42:2

2 "I know that you can do all things,

and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

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ecclesiastes 7:13

13 Consider the work of God:

who can make straight what he has made crooked?

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proverbs 28:1

1 The wicked flee when no one pursues,

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

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proverbs 29:25

25 The fear of man lays a snare,

but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

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galatians 6:12

12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.

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my notes:

hebrews 13:5-8

5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 6 So we can confidently say,

"The Lord is my helper;

I will not fear;

what can man do to me?"

7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

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revelation 21:8

8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.

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section 2

Yet for many of us the ever-increasing precautions of our society just seem like a big hassle. We live in a world where everyday risks are constantly being broadcast as things we need to eliminate, whether it is certain sports, a vehicle, powerful machines, food, viruses, or the latest household cancer producing carcinogen. It can become all too much as people regard safety above service and fellowship.

The problem is that often we as believers cry foul when the world goes too far with precaution and safety to the end that we think any risk elimination is simply a lack of faith or cultural nanny-ism. The temptation is to throw caution to the wind in the name of faith and freedom and beat our chests in pseudo-machoism. Is there a harmonious place for safety and precaution in faith proverbs 14:15 proverbs 22:3 nehemiah 4:9 ? If so, then we must be mindful of what precautions we take and why we take them or not.

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supporting scriptures

proverbs 14:15

15 The simple believes everything,

but the prudent gives thought to his steps.

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proverbs 22:3

3 The prudent sees danger and hides himself,

but the simple go on and suffer for it.

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nehemiah 4:9

9 And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.

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section 3

God commands us to take precautions even in the law deuteronomy 22:8 , but it is not focused on precautions for one’s self as much as it is a mindfulness of others as we should consider others more precious than ourselves i corinthians 10:24 . If there is a precaution for one’s self it is to keep one’s heart proverbs 4:23 and hands i timothy 2:8 free from the guilt of the sin jude 1:23 . In that regard we should be cautious of what personally is a stumbling block matthew 5:29-30 i corinthians 15:33 .

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supporting scriptures

deuteronomy 22:8

8 "When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring the guilt of blood upon your house, if anyone should fall from it.

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i corinthians 10:24

24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

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proverbs 4:23

23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,

for from it flow the springs of life.

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i timothy 2:8

8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;

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jude 1:23

23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

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matthew 5:29-30

29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

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i corinthians 15:33

33 Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals."

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section 4

But regarding physical, societal, health, etc. precautions, we should be motivated by love of others philippians 2:3-4 philippians 2:20-21 . Prudence is dictated by the Lord as wisdom to foresee plain, potential dangers and take action accordingly proverbs 27:12 i peter 1:13 . If you see a rusty nail is sticking out of a wall, who wouldn’t hammer it in for safety sake? A selfish, lazy person might not, even if it is where he himself walks regularly proverbs 12:27 , but a prudent man would do it if only to avoid an otherwise unnecessary tetanus shot. How much more should we be prudent regarding others i corinthians 9:19-22 ii timothy 2:10 ? It is the Lord who knows and judges proverbs 16:2 proverbs 21:2 if we are acting out of selfish fear or if we find taking precautions irksome, overreaching or too much hassle to our own preferences proverbs 24:11-12 . Our selfish heart is why the Lord had to address negligence and disregard for others’ safety and provision exodus 21:28-29 exodus 21:33-36 .

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supporting scriptures

philippians 2:3-4

3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

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philippians 2:20-21

20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

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proverbs 27:12

12 The prudent sees danger and hides himself,

but the simple go on and suffer for it.

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i peter 1:13

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

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my notes:

proverbs 12:27

27 Whoever is slothful will not roast his game,

but the diligent man will get precious wealth.

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i corinthians 9:19-22

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.

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ii timothy 2:10

10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

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proverbs 16:2

2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,

but the Lord weighs the spirit.

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proverbs 21:2

2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,

but the Lord weighs the heart.

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my notes:

proverbs 24:11-12

11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.

12 If you say, "Behold, we did not know this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?

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exodus 21:28-29

28 "When an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner of the ox shall not be liable. 29 But if the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not kept it in, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death.

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exodus 21:33-36

33 "When a man opens a pit, or when a man digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 34 the owner of the pit shall make restoration. He shall give money to its owner, and the dead beast shall be his.

35 "When one man’s ox butts another’s, so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and share its price, and the dead beast also they shall share. 36 Or if it is known that the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has not kept it in, he shall repay ox for ox, and the dead beast shall be his.

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section 5

We are not to ignore the needs and dangers others are in or could be in deuteronomy 22:1-4 . Our own freedom is secondary to serving others i peter 2:16 galatians 5:13-14 . We ourselves are not to be nannies, meddling in others’ business i peter 4:15 i thessalonians 4:11-12 or trying to dictate their decisions luke 12:14 even if that is how the world operates matthew 20:25-28 . As for us, we should determine to follow the Lord ourselves whether others will or not, so as to serve God’s desires and other’s needs john 21:22 joshua 24:15 .

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supporting scriptures

deuteronomy 22:1-4

1 "You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them. You shall take them back to your brother. 2 And if he does not live near you and you do not know who he is, you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall stay with you until your brother seeks it. Then you shall restore it to him. 3 And you shall do the same with his donkey or with his garment, or with any lost thing of your brother’s, which he loses and you find; you may not ignore it. 4 You shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen down by the way and ignore them. You shall help him to lift them up again.

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i peter 2:16

16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

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galatians 5:13-14

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

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i peter 4:15

15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.

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i thessalonians 4:11-12

11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

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luke 12:14

14 But he said to him, "Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?"

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matthew 20:25-28

25 But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

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john 21:22

22 Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!"

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joshua 24:15

15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

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section 6

So, we should also avoid the other extreme example of Cain who feigned ignorance of his brother’s condition with plausible deniability in an attempt to cover up his guilt genesis 4:9 . If we know the good we ought to do, but do not do it; God knows whether we are truly trying not to meddle or if we are selfishly ignoring the preciousness of others james 4:17 .

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supporting scriptures

genesis 4:9

9 Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?"

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james 4:17

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

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section 7

All we do should be done for the sake of others; the first and greatest other we concern ourselves with is our Lord i corinthians 10:31 , and then we concern ourselves with other people i corinthians 10:32-11:1 just as Christ did philippians 2:3-8 . For in serving others in their needs, we are actually serving the Lord in His desires matthew 25:34-46 .

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supporting scriptures

i corinthians 10:31

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

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i corinthians 10:32-11:1

32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

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philippians 2:3-8

3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

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matthew 25:34-46

34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

41 "Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

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my notes:

section 8

We remain here for the purpose of serving others’ souls’ needs philippians 1:24 . So, we should be careful how we live, expressly for others’ sake i thessalonians 1:5 acts 24:16 romans 14:17-21 i corinthians 10:28-29 ii corinthians 6:3 i corinthians 8:11-13 . When needed we should willingly put ourselves at risk for the sake of someone else colossians 1:24 philippians 2:29-30 even if that means the diminished use of our God-given rights i corinthians 9:12 romans 5:7-8 . When need be, we throw our own security to the wind for the deliverance of another soul ii corinthians 4:7-15 . For we should spend and be spent on behalf of other’s souls ii corinthians 12:15 , even if it is as simple as taking the precaution of putting up railing on a porch, we’d rather not have there, or wearing a medical mask. For EVERYTHING we do should be for the benefit of others ii corinthians 12:19 titus 3:8 not our own self john 5:30 i corinthians 10:23-24 .

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supporting scriptures

philippians 1:24

24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.

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i thessalonians 1:5

5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

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acts 24:16

16 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.

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romans 14:17-21

17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.

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i corinthians 10:28-29

28 But if someone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— 29 I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience?

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ii corinthians 6:3

3 We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry,

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i corinthians 8:11-13

11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

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colossians 1:24

24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,

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philippians 2:29-30

29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

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i corinthians 9:12

12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?

Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.

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romans 5:7-8

7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

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ii corinthians 4:7-15

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, "I believed, and so I spoke," we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

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ii corinthians 12:15

15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?

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ii corinthians 12:19

19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved.

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titus 3:8

8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

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john 5:30

30 "I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

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i corinthians 10:23-24

23 "All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

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my notes:

section 9

When it comes to precaution, the question between faith or fear is found in the difference between love and selfishness. Love and faith is being moved from within to act out the good for another according to God’s definitions i john 5:2-4 . Love is about self-sacrifice for the sake of another i john 3:16 while selfishness is about preserving your own self’s safety, preferences, reputation, freedom, etc. even at the cost of another philippians 2:21 galatians 5:14-15 . So, let us determine that whether we look courageous or cautious, we will act out of faith so that God will be delighted to empower our efforts to useful fruition of His glory and other’s benefit ii thessalonians 1:11 .

supporting scriptures

i john 5:2-4

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

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i john 3:16

16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

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philippians 2:21

21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

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galatians 5:14-15

14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

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ii thessalonians 1:11

11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,