A garland of grace, Romans 14 falls around me.
This chapter teaches me so much about the expression of my life of faith. It is mine before the Lord. It preaches freedom to me. It preaches surrender. It preaches honor of God’s precious ones who live out different preferences and convictions than mine.
2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master[a] that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. ESV
I have to make many choices and decisions. Sometimes it feels like I am always making such decisions. And at times, my mind wavers… in a glimmer, I see it fluctuating like a desert mirage. My thoughts just an illusion? And yet, Romans 14 : 4 “It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” The Lord is the substance that breathes life into my mind. The Lord brings the image into true focus. He is the oasis in my desert.
One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. ESV
I sat by her side, tucked in with blankets and pillows- but really… tucked in with love. And, I listened to her words. “Be able to defend your choices and decisions.” – she said. And then… “And sometimes the reason is ‘I don’t know fully why’ and that is okay, too.” And my ear quickened. So many choices and decisions, and I knew, I should take the time to draft my defense for each one. It would bring clarity, peace, confidence, and direction. It wasn’t about defense in an argumentative stance. It was about knowing why I chose what I chose so I had an answer for those who oppose…
and maybe so I have an answer for my own accusing heart.
6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. ESV
My whole life it to be lived to God. I have little sunflowers growing on my deck- and their vibrant faces are turned straight to the sun. So, should I be- like those sunflowers, open-faced and only -eyed toward Him. And this life of glad surrender and faith- filled beauty is approved by Him. Indeed, commended.
12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. ESV
17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. ESV
I am to embrace God’s people in the pursuit of peace– allowing for differences, preferences, and convictions; free in my own before the Lord.
Lord, help me live unto You. Help me remember that each faith-filled decision honors You when I live into it fully by faith. Establish a sound mind in me. Help me remember to reflect and spend time to bring clarity for why I do the things I do. Thank you for the peace and grace to live free in You. Amen.