Love in Your Actions

Opening Prayer

Lord, thank You for giving up everything for me. Help me to follow Your example more closely today than I did yesterday.

Read Romans 14:13–23

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

Reflect

Is there something other believers do that makes you feel uncomfortable?

This section of Romans deals with times when the exercise of our freedoms may cause others difficulty. Just thinking kind thoughts isn’t enough—we need to change our actions, too, making every effort to help, protect and build up one another.

Again, this is an area where the Bible’s teaching is at odds with the values of our culture. Rather than clinging to our rights and entitlements, we should be willing to surrender them for the good of others.

What might this look like? Cross-cultural missionaries often have to give up drinking alcohol or eating foods such as pork in order to reach those to whom God has called them. Women in ministry in the Middle East usually dress more conservatively than they would at home, and cover their heads in public. They are free not to do these things, but they choose to give up those freedoms out of love for those whom they are serving.

Apply

Are there practices you or your church may need to change in order to better love one another and reach your community?

Closing prayer

God, give me Your grace and help me to make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification with those around me (19).

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider