so then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. [romans 14:19]
take some time today to read romans 14. go ahead and do it now.
in your heart and head what did you feel that romans 14 was commanding? do you feel like it was giving you every permission to do what you want to do? did you think of the ‘legalistic’ brother or sister that has a more conservative preference that has looked down on you for the way you dress, what you watch on netflix or what you eat or drink?
because giving you permission to live out your own preferences without judgement is not the point.
we live in a divided age with differing opinions on politics, parenting methods, and self expression. satan would use these things to tear apart the Church, the body of Christ. we must be unified around the person and the work of Christ–and when we are, that will radiate to all other areas of our lives. we spend so much time fighting for our “rights” and our “preferences” and very little time laying them down when they cause others to stumble–Christ laid down all of his preferences, and laid down his life for us.
greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. [john 15:13]
what right or preference do you cling to so tightly that you grieve other brothers in Christ or cause them to stumble?
or if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. by what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. [romans 14:15]
replace the word ‘eat’ here with the word ‘wear’, or ‘drink’ or ‘do’ or ‘who you date’ and you get the point…this can easily tilt towards legalism, but crying “legalism!” and severing relationship and ‘destroying’ someone else does not negate that we should be looking at our own hearts–if we don’t examine ourselves, it is lazy, and a sin. if we seek first to understand the grief, and ask ourselves–”is this something that when i stand before the throne, i will be able to say i sought love and peace with my brother and sister rather than my own preference?”
seek understanding from your brother or sister. we can disagree and still lay down our preferences for the sake of Jesus Christ. seek peace.
our lives should not be pointed at “getting our own way”–look around at culture–even the celebrities that live without limits and get everything they want are still grasping at elusive happiness. this is the paradox of joy–the more we give of ourselves, the more we lay down our own preferences, the more true joy and satisfaction we find in the blood of Christ. the more we lay down, the more it builds the body of Christ, and magnifies the glory of God.
“all things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. [1 corinthians 10:23-24]
this subverts our expectations. we always seek our own good. what would it look like to intentionally lay aside preferences so that others can grow? what would it look like to say to a brother or sister in Christ–”i know that when i _______ it has caused you to stumble. i love you too much in Christ to let that happen. i am laying aside ________ because i don’t want this to be a hindrance in our relationship or your growth!”
what if we stopped shouting “legalism” when our brothers and sisters stumbled, and we started giving up our rights and preferences because he gave up his life for us? what if we ‘suffered’ by giving up our preferences? the Church would be built up! the bride of Christ would flourish!
have thine own way, Lord!
have thine own way!
hold o’er my being
fill with thy Spirit
till all shall see
Christ only, always,
living in me!
have thine own way, Lord vs4-pollard/stebbins