READ: Romans 14
BACKGROUND: This is an interesting passage, and it is very helpful and applicable to us if we understand the complex social setting and situation into which Paul is writing. He is writing to a church made up of both former Jews and former Gentiles who have put their faith in Jesus. Some of the Jews – because of their entire cultural history – had great trouble eating meats that were “unclean” under the old law because they thought it was wrong. His basic argument here is that we need to have a great deal of mercy and grace toward each other in areas of conduct that aren’t clearly stated to be wrong in the Bible. He says that having a stronger faith that allows or compels us to live a certain way doesn’t give us license to judge or look down upon others who don’t live the same way. He also says we should be careful not to live in a way that offends others or causes them to stumble in their faith.
By Verse –
1 – “Weak in Faith” = Young Christians who are immature in their faith.
10 – Believers aren’t in charge of judging other believers. God is in charge of that. Nice thought, huh? It really frees up some time for a lot of us. 🙂
13 – Stronger, more mature Christians shouldn’t live in a way that hurts the faith of others and causes them to stumble.
22 – Our faith should always help others and not hurt them.
THINK: Read Romans 14:6-13 aloud again, imagining that Paul, your brother in Christ, is sitting next to you saying these things to you.
1. Why do people insist on their own way about debatable matters?
2. When you’re critical, what words and tone do you usually use? When you’re being condescending, what facial expression and arm gestures do you use?
3. What does this passage say about why moral superiority and self-righteousness is so silly?
Read Romans 14:6-13 one more time. Which phrase speaks most deeply to you?
PRAY: Take the phrase that spoke to you and talk to God about it. Ask him to let that truth sink into your deepest self. Ask him to guide you in that truth.
LIVE: When Mother Teresa was asked how someone might pray for her, she asked that person to pray that she would not get in the way of what God wanted to do. Move through life with that consciousness, acting with God’s love but not getting in the way of what God wants to do.
Adapted from Eugene Peterson’s Solo