But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats because eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
Sometimes I read a chapter or an entire book of the bible and have trouble hearing God’s small voice. Then others times just one little verse will pop out. In this case, it was one little verse at the end of a chapter that became a game changer. I can’t tell you how many times I have read Romans chapter 14. As I have matured over the years, I understand it more and more What I often struggle with is different believers decisions in those open handed issues. Not the non negotiable of faith but the issues that essentially don’t matter. The individual conviction issues. So this little tiny verse at the end of chapter 14 is big. It’s simple. Like the greatest commandment is to love the Lord and love others as yourself. Simple but not easy. This passage may have started out talking about food but there’s so much more to it than meets the eye. Could this also refer to everything else in life, too? It says whatever. In the NIV translation it literally says everything. Prior to this particular verse, Paul is talking about how we judge ourselves and others. Decisions about job changes, where to live, what to eat, what to drink, where to live, which church to worship in, etc, etc; they’re all open handed issues. They are not going to keep you from eternal life or get it for you.
There will come a day not too far from now where I will have to answer for all the decisions I have made and things I have done. I will not have to answer for my husband or my children or anyone else, no matter how close we were in life. I need to stop getting so caught up in other’s decisions (good, bad or indifferent) and focus on my actions. If there are things that I do or don’t do that are not rooted in, start with or originate from faith, it’s sin. This will be a good test when I am wondering if something is within God’s will or if I’m making the right decision. Did it start with faith or selfish and fleshly desires. Did my decision or action start with conviction from the Lord or my own ideas? My actions and beliefs in those “negotiable” areas will need constant re evaluation over the course of my lifetime. As I mature, I have noticed how some of my previous decisions, though not against the Word, now look foolish. An area where I previously felt no conviction may now be different. I may find that what was ok yesterday is not ok today.
Lord help me to start with faith. Help me to go to you first and seek your will and allow your to convict my heart and impress your will upon me. Thank you that there is freedom in your Spirit. Reveal to me today those areas where I have judged others based on my own personal convictions and help me to trust in you!