You’ve probably met people like me, and perhaps this describes you, too. Always striving to please, be liked, make others comfortable. I often take it a step too far when I try to “fix” things. My efforts are sometimes welcomed, and other times I just mess things up worse with my silver lining kind of attitude. Well, the opening verses of this chapter sure made me smile.
I suppose a lot of my joy bubbles up from inside because I know who I belong to. I am the daughter of a king. My Lord and Savior has my back. No matter what life throws my way I have His love and promise of eternity. The same is available for you, too! How does that make you feel?
So many nuggets in today’s reading. Was there one, in particular, that spoke to you? Feel free to share in the comments. What came to mind to me was the idea of entitlement. When you look around you see people’s attitudes being shaped by what they believe they want or are entitled to have. The cries for social justice and equality are heard daily. I’m not saying those are bad things in and of themselves, but when they cause us to stumble or trip someone else up, we need to be careful.
The example Paul gives here involves food and drink. As long as I have known David, he is careful to never accept an alcoholic beverage when in the company of an alcoholic. These verses seem to be the inspiration for his behavior. When we were in recovery ministry, we would hear time and again how difficult it was to be in a bar setting, for example, when trying to stay alcohol-free. It is clear in this passage we should be careful in our own behaviors so that others don’t stumble.
I had forgotten how much I love this chapter. There are so many helpful things, I’m going to break it into a couple of days. But the overall theme is unity. Paul starts by addressing the relationships between people who are strong in their faith and weak in their faith. When differences of opinion arise, and they will, he cautions both sides to seek unity and avoid confrontation, which can quickly escalate to condemnation.
Romans 14 might be one of those chapters you bookmark to return to time and time again. Such profound truth on unity in relationships. After all, we are continually meeting and interacting with new people. That’s the beauty of life and building relationships. What are Paul’s three nuggets of wisdom for this? Let’s check it out.
Have you ever felt obligated to love someone? In one of my translations, this was spelled out as the “debt of love for others.” Interesting. Jesus wants us to love one another, and Paul reminds us of that here. To love your neighbor as you love yourself.
The debt of love starts with Jesus. His great love for us was poured out when he sacrificed his life for ours. We can never repay Jesus for what he did for us, so we obey him and love others. If we’re having trouble loving ourselves just now, remember to love as Jesus taught us, to love others as he has loved us.
Paul warns us here that time is running out. We must be ready. Many years have passed since Paul wrote these words, yet we still look forward to the imminent return of Jesus. We want to be ready. We want to be clean. I liked the image of shedding dirty clothes. We can all think of habits and tendencies in our lives that aren’t helpful. What are you doing to avoid evil and step into the light?
Have you ever exceeded the speed limit? I know I’m not the only lead foot to walk around this planet. Moving to Mexico has definitely changed all of that. We really can’t drive fast on the cobblestone. And on the highway, there’s something about looking down and seeing “100” on my dashboard. We’re in kilometers here. (So, like 62 mph.) I feel like I’m flying!
This text was one I would read to keep me paying attention to the speed limit. It’s a law after all. And today’s reading tells us “Everyone must submit to governing authorities.” I remember the first time I was directed to this passage. It was probably after receiving a speeding ticket or being put in my place after talking about my propensity to exceed the speed limit. Until that day, I had no idea it was also a Biblical truth I should be obeying.