This has been a great study for me. I've studied Romans through washed out hurricane trips, ICU waiting for my dad to wake up experiences, agony over children moments and just plain, "wish I was back in the Word for summer" guilt trips.
Every time I made time to get back to the Bible, God always had something to say to me.
Of course! That's the way He works ! - Now...On to Chapter 14!
In Romans chapters 12 - 16, it seems God has Paul getting us ready to interact with the world . He introduces concepts we need to cope with a world that throws a lot of challenges our way: Human dynamics, disgruntled friends, home, church and work challenges, difficult relationships with authority and anger issues all play a part in these chapters of Romans.
Humility, love, forgiveness, determination, respect -- These are all traits found in our Romans 12 and 13 chapters. Those are good coping tools.
Enter: Chapter 14:
'As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
- Romans 14: 11,12
GULP! What is God asking me to give an account of ?
He's asking me to stop being so wrapped up in judging others that I neglect my own opportunities to serve.
In other words (Laurie's paraphrase):
"Tend to your own knitting, Laurie, and be sure not to cause others to fall."
God is referring to two very non-salvation issues in this chapter: 1. What we eat and 2.How we worship.
Apparently, our Bible time counterparts had big issues regarding what could be eaten and how to worship. God had given them some guidelines in the Old Testament, but the people were taking them to the extreme hundreds of years later. Briefly, God said, "Lighten up on that."
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads
to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy
the work of God for the sake of food.
-Romans 14: 19,20
Within the church, we sometimes feud about the silliest things. God is all over that. He wants us to work together for the GREATER good!
The next time you feel yourself getting upset about a church skirmish, please remember Paul's words in Chapter 14:
Be careful not to make others fall with your actions AND don't sweat the small stuff. Get along and get going.
The world needs Jesus. Let's focus on HIM and bring others to Him.
This will change lives and glorify God.