Thursday, 26 December 2013
Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. Romans 14:15
We’ve been given instructions on our liberties in Christ, but those freedoms need to be exercised carefully in both directions. Just as one “weak in the faith” shouldn’t be accusing another who eats whatever they wish, the opposite is true too. The person who understands their freedoms needs to not attempt to impose them in a haughty manner over the weaker in the faith. When a Jewish person comes to Christ, they may have spent their entire life refraining from foods forbidden under the law. Even if they understand their freedoms, they may be so fixed in their dietary restrictions that they don’t want to change.
It would be wholly unreasonable to try to get them to indulge in something they are not prepared to eat. In having them work against their own conscience, you will grieve them. In so doing, “you are no longer walking in love.” The same is true with vegetarians. Whose stomach are they filling? If they wish to eat only vegetables, is that truly any business of another? Let people choose what they wish to eat and “do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.”
If they are believers, He has already accepted them. Will another’s attempts to change their dietary habits change their position in Christ? No. So let them be, let them partake as they wish, and don’t force your freedoms on them. By doing so, they are no longer freedoms. Love is the key and one cannot be forceful about “doubtful things” and still be acting in love.
On the other hand, one cannot be acting in love while tolerating that which is clearly forbidden. God has decided what is and what is not acceptable. It is incumbent on us to be firm in that which He is firm in and to allow freedom in that which He has allowed freedom. To go too far in one direction or another leads to either license or legalism; both of which are poison to the faith and practice necessary to have a sound relationship with the Lord.
Life application: By knowing what is allowed and what is forbidden, we can know how to handle each situation as it arises within the context of our Christian faith. And the only way to know these things is to… to… to know your Bible. Never stop reading, studying, and memorizing this precious word.
Heavenly Father, I have to stop and ask myself from time to time, “How can I be pleasing to You unless I do what You ask?” From there, “How can I do what You ask unless I know Your word?” It all comes back to Your word. Doctrine does matter and it can only come from keeping my nose in Your word. Thank You for the Blueprint for my life, the Constitution of my faith, and the Lamp for my feet. Thank You for Your word. Amen.