Romans 14 presents a GREAT challenge to believers. None of us believes EXACTLY the SAME about everything. In addition, none of DO the SAME things as everyone else. I may choose not to do something that another person has no problem doing. On the other hand, I may partake in something that another believer is against. You and I may worship completely differently. The same must’ve been true in Paul’s day, as he addresses how to handle our ‘differences’ within the body of Christ.
1) “Don’t argue about doubtful issues” (vs. 1) – There are some things that really just don’t matter – and are not worth getting worked up about. One of our values at LifePoint is “Focus on what unites, not divides. We value diversity.” I think this is exactly what Paul is saying in this verse.
2) Don’t look down on another for their beliefs. “Who are we to criticize another’s… (convictions, preferences, beliefs)?”
3) Each of us is accountable to GOD for our choices/beliefs (vs. 12) and we must be personally convinced of that in our mind (vs. 4-5). Still, we are not to judge/criticize others (back to vs. 3).
4) Whatever you do, do TO THE LORD (vs. 6-8). Fill in the blank, whoever ________ (observes the day, eats, lives, dies, doesn’t eat, worships…), _________ to the Lord. No matter what it is we do, we belong to the Lord, so do IT to the Lord.
5) “Decide not to put a stumbling block in your brother’s way.” (vs. 13). If you know your brother/sister has a problem with, conviction of or belief contrary to you in an area, respect that around them and don’t do it… For example, if you find brown pants offensive, I should do my best to save my brown pants for days that I’m not going to see you. Lame example, I know… but you get the point?
6) Finally, vs. 15 says to walk “according to love.” Remember, that what we do or don’t do doesn’t matter, righteousness matters (vs. 17). And, above all, “Pursue what promotes peace, and what builds up one another” (vs. 17).
“Whoever serves the Messiah in this way is acceptable to God and approved by men” (vs. 18).
I’d say that’s a good goal to strive for. Thanks for the challenge, Paul.