Romans Devotional

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Day 51 - Pizza

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Reading: Romans 14:13-23

Reflective Thoughts

Pizza

We had gone without pizza for three months when George and my sister came to visit for the weekend. George is my brother-in-law, a standard-issue character and retired trucker of medium build with a small pot belly that doesn't begin to justify the amount of candy, burgers, fries, doughnuts and pizza he consumes almost continually. George thought our new "diet" was funny and the amount of weight Tom lost justified celebration with pizza. He brought it home late one night and waved its hot, greasy goodness under our noses. Rarely are stumbling blocks so overtly obvious or even intentional.

The early church in these passages was divided between those who adhered to certain customs about festivals and foods and those who felt free not to. The rule of thumb Paul gave them was consideration of the other person's convictions and conscience. In our day, this spiritual principle still applies beyond food and drink.

One of my friends wrestled with the purchase of a new car for fear of discouraging fellow believers who were in a difficult spot. Another struggled over the potential excess of owning a large screen television. What they chose to do is not as important as the fact that they questioned their rights and freedoms for the sake of the good of others. They turned George's brand of overt intentional temptation into overt intentional love not to cause fellow believers to stumble. (We didn't eat the pizza.)

Day 50 - Opinions

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Reading: Romans 14:1-12

Reflective Thoughts

Opinions

George Barna makes a living on the opinions of others. If there's one thing that his polls have shown is that for every issue there are at least several opinions. Each opinion represents someone who thinks he's right.

Paul writes about opinions in Romans 14. These opinions were on matters that were not clearly defined as sinful by Scripture. The Church in Rome had different kinds of Christians. Some held fast to ritual Jewish practices surrounding food and holidays. Others did not. The term "weaker" brother seems to indicate that someone's faith does not give him the freedom to engage in a given activity. Meanwhile others might participates freely.

As long as you have differing opinions, you will have differing practices-and lots of different people, each believing he is right. You may abstain from alcohol, attend rock concerts, participate in Facebook, vote democratic, use e-harmony or not. You may, engage according to your faith, and you will be right-until you judge someone else whose behavior on this issue doesn't match your own. It is possible to wrong in being right.

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