Saturday, May 16, 2009

Imposing Christians

Romans 14:22-23 (The Message)

Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don't impose it on others. You're fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you're not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—then you know that you're out of line. If the way you live isn't consistent with what you believe, then it's wrong.

Do you find yourself trying to prove your "Christianity"? Some of us want to show others how much we know about the Bible, theology, traditions, etc., by showing up to church regularly in our Sunday best, never missing an opportunity to participate in the latest "ministry", and telling others what God did for them this week. To the other extreme, there is this (I'll say) "new breed" of Christian that is determined to show how raw and hip our walk with God is - we are saved, but we can totally relate to the sinner in this world. No formal religion for this type of believer.

Now, I know you could pull in many more types of Christians, and they all have their merits and less-than-meritorious qualities, but when it comes right down to the heart of the matter, one must ask if the walk you walk and talk is to impress man or God? And if you are trying to impress God, don't bother. He does not want to be impressed, He wants to be loved.

Do you love God? Are you waking each day and communing with Him? Do you go to Him through out the day - praising Him, asking for His guidance, sharing your thoughts with Him, listening to Him? Is He the last one you speak to before you go to sleep?

Our relationship with God is individual, just like your relationship with another person. We may know the same person, but the way you know and interact with that person is not necessarily the same way I would know and interact with that person - you may know more about the person and you may be more comfortable around that person than I am. It does not mean that you should expect me to behave and interact with that person exactly as you do. So, why would we make the assumption that Christians should all behave exactly alike in our relationship with God?

Romans 14 (New International Version)

The Weak and the Strong

1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. 11It is written: " 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' "[
a] 12So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. 14As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food[
b] is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16Do not allow what you consider good to 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, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

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

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

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