One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that He might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written:
"As surely as I live, says the Lord,
every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will confess to God."
So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better to not eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.
So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
A study focus from my Bible ~ Romans 14:5
Conformity doesn't equal unity
Legalism can be a deadly trap for Christians. It is the practice of applying God's Word harshly in order to control behavior, or of taking Bible passages relating to a particular culture or circumstance and making them rules for all time. It's natural to want others to be just like us, but the uniformity that comes from obeying legalistic rules is not unity. Jesus' love and the forgiveness He provides through the cross is the basis for our unity.
We can have our own convictions, but we can't insist that others agree with us on everything. If we do, we will become like th Pharisees of Jesus' day, so concerned with their interpretation of the law that they were blind to the Messiah (Matthew 23:23-24).
Real unity is a work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. It comes as a result of building our lives together on the essentials of our faith (1 Corinthians 15:1-5) and allowing the freedom for diversity and even for disagreement on some nonessential issues.
And study notes for Romans 15:7
Why are we so different?
"Why do you have to be so emotional?" asked Carey. "It's just who I am, "Jackie shot back. "Why can't you just stop and look at things rationally for once?" Jackie's eyes grew moist at her friend's sharp response.
Carey is a "thinker". She doesn't understand why Jackie gets so upset, and Jackie is hurt because Carey isn't empathizing with her feelings. Neither understood that both perspectives are equally valid and important. Personality differences are part of the uniqueness God gave each of us in creation. He accepts and appreciates each of us, and in Romans 15:7, we are commanded to accept and appreciate one another.
Growing in understanding and acceptance of our differences is one of the most important aspects of Christian friendship and discipleship. God doesn't want us to feel threatened by differences; He wants us to learn from them. It's natural to think that our own way is best, but there's always something to learn from how others see things.
This was my New Testament reading from yesterday. It was like a "lightning bolt" to my understanding. I saw many of my own shortcomings. I gained new understanding that I didn't have prior to reading this...
I realized that I am guilty of much in this passage. sigh. Will I ever learn and be a proper example of Christ's love for others and a blessing to others? And yet, I'm thankful that God opens my heart and mind to continue to learn from His Truth. As I continue to meditate on His Word, I pray I am continually transformed into His likeness ~ loving others!