One of the struggles for the church when Paul was evangelizing and starting churches was this – how much of the old life and the old tradition should they hold to? Many of the new believers had come out of the Jewish tradition, while many of the newest believers were Gentiles (non-Jews). So, the question emerged, what should all Christians do?
Should they hold to the traditions of their ancestors and keep the laws about what to eat and what to drink? Should they hold onto the old?
Or, should they break away completely? Should they start over and walk away from the old traditions of the past? What are they to do?
Listen to how Paul writes about this in Romans 14: 17-21:
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.
Not if you eat clean or unclean, if you wash or don’t wash.
Now, Paul would say that if you choose to eat only certain foods, that’s fine. Just don’t judge others (who love Jesus) that don’t have the same conviction as you. If they love Jesus, that’s what matters.
So is it today. Just because there is something in your life that you feel like is the most important thing in all the world, and someone else doesn’t share that same passion, or doesn’t agree with you, or doesn’t go to the right church, or listen to the right music, or do the “right” thing, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t Christian.
Point folks to Jesus today, not to your traditions or the things that are you preference. Do what you need to do for you faith. But don’t mistake the way that you live your faith out for your faith.
Love others. Love Jesus. Point to Jesus. Live for Him.
And let God take care of the rest!
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