Day 15: Romans 14
Here, Paul continues his practical advice for the Christians in Rome.
In the early chapters of the book, Paul focuses on what to believe, with the closing chapters covering how Christians should behave and treat others.
Our faith is connected with real life and with real people, Paul is unpacking the practical applications in the choices we make and how we behave each day.
Looking at chapter 14, we don’t often quarrel about what we eat and drink in todays Church, but in the early Church there were obstacles to overcome. Some believers, who were formally Pagans and who’d previously sacrificed and offered food to idols, couldn’t, with a clear conscience, eat food without specifically knowing where it was sourced. Often food would be sold in markets that had come from the Pagan places of worship, having been offered to idols. In contrast, there were other believers who would eat this food with a clear conscious, knowing that thees idols were worthless and powerless.
Paul addresses these matters, by simply promoting unity and personal devotion to God.
I do however think there are some very clear parallels with our lives today.
I do think we can often look at the lives of other Christians and make subtle judgments on their standard of ‘Christian living’ compared to our own ‘perceived standard’. How often, do we look at another Christian and say; “Well I wouldn’t do that.” and make a judgment. Maybe we even think of ourselves more highly, through observing actions and habits in others. Paul is quick to remind us that we will stand before God and be accountable for our actions and our actions only.
Everyone has a unique set of influences, histories, battles, struggles, journeys, that we simply cannot then project our own “expectations” and conscience onto the lives of others. Paul reminds us that everything we do, we do it for the Lord. None of us live for ourselves alone!
Every action, thought, word; we do for the Lord! Let’s be reminded of that for our own lives first and foremost. Paul continues, “The Kingdom of God is… a matter of righteousness (through Jesus, Phil 3:9), peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit… Therefore let’s make it [our] top priority to live a life of peace with harmony in your relationships, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage one another.” Romans 14:17-19 TPT
What a great challenge!
Remember there is so much we can do in this time, visit our be-kind.uk website for ideas on how you can bless and encourage one another.
Ps Jonny Foster
Barnard Castle Campus Pastor