Some interesting things were going on with the Roman Christians which Paul addressed some of the big issues in the first half of this book. But there were so other issues that needed addressing. The Christians were having a hard time meshing the Jewish traditions with the Gentile traditions. They were even arguing over it all. And in this chapter we find Paul addressing some of those issues in Romans 14.
These Christians were having a hard time with things like eating habits and days set aside to worship God. Jews did things one way...Gentiles another. So who is right and who is wrong when it is not necessarily a "sin" issue? That is the question they were struggling with.
I am going to break this up into two parts:
Today, "Personal Conviction"
Tomorrow, "Being Critical of Others"
One of my professors at school shared with us about his love of tennis in class one day. He played tennis All the time. He would try to play it every day and he was pretty good at it. However, tennis began to consume him. It took away time from his work, his family and it even took away time from his daily devotions. Eventually, tennis became something it never should have.
Now there is nothing wrong with tennis. I play tennis every once and awhile. It is a great fun sport. But the point that my professor was trying to make is that tennis became a sin for him. Tennis was consuming him. It was not only interrupting his family and work but it was actually hindering his walk with the Lord. He admitted that for him the only cure was for him was to not play tennis at all ever. It was far to tempting to play because it would only want him to play all the more...remember Romans 7?
There will be things in our lives that will be sin for us that are not sin for others. God knows us so intimately, He shows us our boundaries and where we need help. For me, if you have been reading my blog on Fridays, food can be a huge sin for me. My hubby can eat some things that I can not. Is he in sin? Nope! But for me it can be. One small piece of chocolate cake is okay; but not the whole cake.
We got a free piano a couple years ago. It needed a lot of work. It was pretty dirty, it need vacuuming, wiping and a piano tuner to come in. It was the fine tuning that took the longest. He actually has to come back a few times to get it to hold tune; before it is just right. When we come to God in our sinful state, He gets to work and does a huge overhaul. He begins the fixing and cleansing process and works on all the big stuff. Then he starts working on the details.
Personal convictions are the fine tuning of our souls.(God just gave me that, feel free to quote me. Wink...wink! I don't think any famous person said it...so I think it is all mine. hehehehe)
God is wants to get down to the motives of our hearts. He wants us to really be pure and holy.
I really like the last part of the chapter. It really brings it home regarding our own personal conviction.
22 You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it.
Did you read that last part, I mean really read it? I want you to fill in the blank with what ever you have doubts about....
But if you have doubts about whether or not you should _____________, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it.
Whoa...whoa...whoa...Stop right there! I have read Romans so many times and never really noticed that verse. All I can say is Ouch Lord...Okay you are serious about the personal convictions You have placed in our hearts.
For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.
Lord, forgive me if I have done anything when I have felt it is not right. Sadly, this has happened many times in my life...maybe it was movies that I was not sure about, maybe it was conversations that I thought were questionable, maybe it was resentments I held on to for far to long or maybe it was something that regularly distracted my devotion time all of these things caused me to sin.
But, thank be to God who is able and ready to forgive and help us to not do it any more. Thank you Lord for you are always working on us by purifying us and making us new. Thank you Lord for you are always making me better and more beautiful. Thank you for fine tuning because it makes me more like you and when that happens I will....