“One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.” Romans 14:2 NIV
You may or may not know this about me, but I love hunting. There are few things that capture my soul like being out in the woods hunting whitetails. Some people distain hunting, some people just tolerate it, others enjoy it, but I love it. I love to read about it. I love to think about it. I love to watch hunting shows. I love to shoot my bow to prepare for the season. I love to process my own meat. I love to share hunting stories. But I truly love how it draws me closer to the presence of God. In the good moments and in the tough moments, hunting has always been a place where God’s voice pierces through the noise of my soul. As much as I love the sport of hunting and how God uses it to provide for my family I would never force someone to take on my lifestyle. However, the false teachers in Ephesus were doing just that. They would “order them to abstain from certain foods” (1 Timothy 4:3)
Let me ask you something, did you find yourself asking why I had picked Romans 14:2 to begin today’s devotional? Especially given the fact that I am a proud hunter. Given my personal preference, I could take that verse and alienate an entire group of people, vegetarians and vegans. I could use this verse to explain to them how my point of view is superior and more biblical and therefore they should give up their lifestyle and personal convictions and become a meat eater. However, if I did this despicable act, I would fall into the same category as the false teachers in Ephesus. While Romans 14:2 does actually say what it says, it doesn’t mean what it means. That verse taken out of context can be used as an unholy weapon. The Apostle Paul goes on to say that “each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind” (Romans 14:5). In other words, you are allowed to have personal convictions that differ from a brother or sister in Christ. We are simply called to promote unity and not division.
Putting it into Practice
Take some time today to read Romans 14:1-23 and journal about your thoughts. What do you believe is the major lesson that the Lord wants to communicate to you?
Lord we pray for unity within our church body. If there have been areas in my life where my personal convictions have trumped your desire for unity in the body of Christ will you forgive me. Lead me Lord to love my brothers and sisters more than the pleasures of this world. In Jesus name, Amen.