Text: Romans 14:14-19
Theme: Why we do something is more important to God than what we do.
Key verses: “I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died” (v. 14-15). “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up” (v. 17-19).
What God said to me: Good morning my son! Welcome to Germany! What a wonderful country I have dropped you into. I have many followers there who love me with their whole hearts. As you are now discovering, they need help with understanding whole-life worship and teaching on why and how to express their worship upwardly and outwardly. Just follow me and listen well. Have lots of conversations with local leaders and people. Wait on me to open more doors for you in Germany and Europe. This is just the beginning of some powerful, life-changing ministry to come for NLW and for you.
Regarding this passage, notice the stark contrast Paul is drawing between what you eat and why you eat it. What you eat has been approved by me. However, why you eat it depends on how it might be perceived by other Christians, particularly those who are weaker in faith. Potentially “ruining them” is not worth the risk, no matter how much you might enjoy a particular food or beverage. People are watching you, Dwayne. Welcome to Christianity. You cannot and should not avoid being seen by others. You shouldn’t be annoyed that others are observing your actions and attitudes. Instead, count it all joy! You are being my representative in front of them, my ambassador. People look on the outside of you, but remember that I look at the heart. I care more about why you want to do something. Your job is to stay as close to my commandments as you possibly can. Lean into ways that can help others and demonstrate my love for them. Sometimes their hang-ups will seem trite to you and negligible, not worth your acknowledgment, much less your ceasing and desisting. Remember that approval by me and harmony among your brethren are your ultimate goals–not the delight of your taste buds or petty preferences.
What I said to God: Good morning, LORD! I am so grateful to meet with You here in this beautiful home of Dr. Johannes Schroder in Germany. What a blessing this is! And thank You for speaking to me through Paul’s writing. This chapter is so practical for how we should interact with and consider others above ourselves. Please help me esteem others above myself today, wherever I go and in whatever I do. And thank You for my wonderful wife, Sonia, as we celebrate 34 years of marriage today. Please give her a great day of peace and joy and comfort as I am on another continent doing ministry.