Friday, November 9
THE LAW OF LOVE
13 Therefore, let us no longer judge one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in the way of your brother or sister. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself. Still, to someone who considers a thing to be unclean, to that one it is unclean. 15 For if your brother or sister is hurt by what you eat, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy, by what you eat, someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore, do not let your good be slandered, 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever serves Christ in this way is acceptable to God and receives human approval.
19 So then, let us pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. 20 Do not tear down God’s work because of food. Everything is clean, but it is wrong to make someone fall by what he eats. 21 It is a good thing not to eat meat, or drink wine, or do anything that makes your brother or sister stumble. 22 Whatever you believe about these things, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever doubts stands condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith, and everything that is not from faith is sin.
The summary of today’s passage is very similar to the first part of Romans 14. Essentially Paul is challenging us to set our sights on something greater than ourselves and instead to look towards building the kingdom of God. Paul knew that there was nothing unclean about meat that didn’t meet the requirements of the Jewish law or that was sacrificed to an idol. Yet there was also nothing that could justify the destruction of another Christian over food. When you value physical things over the well-being of another then you are no longer walking in love: The issue is not your personal liberty; it is walking in love towards one whom Jesus loves and died for. Do not destroy with your desire to eat, drink, and do as you please, the one for whom Christ died. If Jesus was willing to give up His life for the sake of that brother or sister, we can certainly give up our behaviors or opinions in order to love them better. However, it’s also very important to recognize that we shouldn’t think that Paul would promote this kind of heart to cater to someone’s legalism. Paul speaks about being sensitive to a sincere heart, not catering to the silliness of someone’s legalism.
We often cling to things because we think they make us happy. Real happiness is found in being closer and closer to Jesus, and not simply from the things we are permitted to enjoy. However when we’re truly satisfied in Christ, it frees us to enjoy those created things in even greater ways. Today, ask yourself if there is anything in your life that is hindering a closer walk with Christ.
Father, I want to know the happiness that comes from not condemning myself by what I approve in my life. I want to experience feel the peace and unity that exists when I value my brothers and sisters over my own opinions and liberties. I want to know the happiness that can be felt by being truly satisfied in you. Satisfy me fully by You so that I can love and serve those around me better.
Pick Four More Activities
Listen and Worship.
Pray a Psalm.
Read a Book.
Retell the Gospel to Yourself.
Take Some Notes on Today's Devotional.
Pray for Yourself, Your Family, Your Church, and the Lost.
Memorize a Verse.
List Five Things You're Thankful For.