Often the things that split us as believers are issues that really are not that important. We give too much room for the enemy to divide us over matters that God is really not concerned about. The Lord desires above all else that we are one as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one. We will learn here in Romans 14 how to respect one another's convictions while maintaining Spiritual unity. We are not all wired the same; yes, we must agree on the majors, which are the essential doctrines of Christ, but other matters are just minors, and in those, we have the liberty to think differently.
We are all in the process of transformation into the image of God, but there are different levels. Some are just starting, while others have advanced much further. There are those weak and those strong in the faith; we must learn to trust the process. Each of us is God's workmanship! We must trust each person to God and make sure we don't get in His way by correcting an issue ahead of His timing. If another believer doesn't have the same conviction about a minor issue as we do, we don't tell them differently, for it is God that convicts us.
The issues that are addressed here in Romans 14 are eating and the Sabbath. Paul recognizes these as minors and tells believers to honor each person's conviction. If you are invited to eat with someone who doesn't feel it is right to eat certain things such as pork, don't eat it. If you are invited to observe a certain day as a Sabbath by your hosts, observe it. Honor each person's convictions. You may feel these matters shouldn't be so important; your level of faith might be stronger, but that doesn't mean that you should disrespect them. It is not worth it causing division, and what one does unto the Lord is honorable to God, and we need to leave it between them.
Verse 13 says it plain; "let us no longer criticize one another. Instead, decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in your brother's way."
How better off would the body of Christ be if we followed this command? Let us today repent of being critical and start loving each other God's way.
Verse 17 says, "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit."
It is not the outward but the inward that God is after; if our character reflects God, then we are in the right relationship with Him, and really what else matters. Yes, as the inward changes, the outward will change with it, but what that looks like is up to our maker.
Verse 19 says, "We must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another."
God is a builder." The enemy tears down. Whose side do we want to be on? If we allow the issues of our day of politics and cultural differences to divide, then we are instruments of the enemy and not vessels of God.
The Charge: Let us today repent of being critical and divisive and start loving each other God's way.