Roaming Through Romans (chapter 14)
One of our duties as Christians is to encourage one another in our walk with Christ. Along with that we are instructed not to gossip or judge. And Jesus asks us to ‘Love one another’ ‘Feed My sheep’ and do our best to keep the peace. It sounds easy to follow these simple laws of love but many a problem can appear along the way to trip us up. Chapter 14 describes one of these problems, the problem of what we eat and drink or don’t eat and drink.
Chapter 14 begins by telling us not to argue over doubtful things. “For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats: for God has received him.” Verses 2and 3.
And verses 13 and 15 read: “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way”… “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.”
And verses 19, 20a and 21 read: “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. … It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.”
There are many small ways in which we can obey God and keep the peace. But we have to be constantly on guard for the little things that can bring us or others down. If we order a glass of wine when we are with a friend who considers drinking wine a sin we may cause a problem for her. Wouldn’t it be better not to have the glass of wine in her presence than to offend her? We need to be sensitive to the feelings of our fellow Christians. Verse 18 says: “For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.”
While we are on this earth we are engaged in warfare. We are Christian soldiers and we are commanded to fight the good fight. That means we are not to let little annoyances take us away from righteous living. 2 Timothy 2:4 tells us, “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this world,…” Christ tells us in Matthew 18:4 that in this world offenses must come but to be careful not to be the one who brings them in.
It’s a war we are fighting and Satan would love to bring us down. He can often dampen our Christian love with just a careless word of criticism from a friend or an unkind remark from a loved one. We need to constantly be on guard for those small insults, not to let them trip us up. Without Christ’s help we can’t win so we need to continually be in prayer and be quick to forgive. 2 Timothy warns us not to get entangled with petty things. Song of Solomon 2:15 reads: “it is the little foxes that spoil the vines.” Often a little gossip can spoil a grand relationship. Christ begs us not to let that happen.
Before Christ died for us he prayed in the garden that our love for each other here on earth would match that of the love in heaven. His greatest wish for us is that we love one another, but often we lose that love when a small offense is spoken against us or some petty irritation shows up in our way. At such times, Jesus must be disappointed.
Since our first priority as Christians is to love one another, let’s not let food or drink or any thing else get in the way of that.