Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.”
I can’t help but go back to Doug Moo’s quote: “Liberty is a wonderful thing, but love is even greater!”
In Christ the stronger may have come to a better understanding of their freedom—their liberty. But here’s what we’re to do with that freedom: Don’t promote your freedoms in a way that might cause a weaker brother or sister to stumble. This doesn’t mean we should not teach what full Gospel liberty looks like—we should absolutely do that, there is no question. We should…teach…but do not tempt people to violate their conscience. If you have certain freedoms, enjoy them…but do not flaunt them and certainly do not try to get others to go against their own conscience.
This freedom, this liberty that Paul has been talking about is a good thing; it keeps us from being bound up in traditions and rituals, it allows for us to experience the fullness of God’s love. Knowing that God has given us so much fills us with thanksgiving. What a privilege we have!
But we just need to understand that with this privilege comes a responsibility… we’re not to needlessly flaunt that liberty before those who are weak. It is better to exercise that liberty in private, when no one could possibly be offended.
That doesn’t mean that we sneak around, it just means that we look to the interest of others—to those who may be weaker in their faith. Let me give you an example.
I was talking with Terry earlier this week about freedom and he made a great analogy. He said it was like baby proofing a house. You put locks on the cabinets, foam on sharp corners and so on, because you want to help the child, you want to keep the child out of trouble. Is it inconvenient to you? Yes in some ways. You’ve already learned the dangers under the sink, but you don’t need a lock to keep you from those dangers. But because we care about the child, we willingly live in the house that has been baby proofed… and I’d add that you joyfully live in the house that has been baby proofed! All of those things don’t bring you discouragement, they’re opportunities to help the child grow, and one day those locks will not be needed.
Are there ways that you’ve failed to love another believer because you weren’t willing to keep a conviction concerning your liberty in Christ to yourself? Is there something you need to be quiet about and keep your beliefs between yourself and God?
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the Gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest. Romans 8-16 For You: For reading, for feeding, for leading (God’s Word For You – Romans Series Book 2, Keller, Timothy.