The Grey Areas

9th September

But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.”

Romans 14:23

Romans 14 is a wonderful passage that deals with conflict in the church over various doctrinal and spiritual disciplinary issues. Above all, Paul calls for peace. He calls for all people to be accountable for their own convictions whilst honouring others convictions too, so as not to cause conflict between fellow believers. Yet how do we discern or decipher our own convictions? How did the Christians in the New Testament discover what was acceptable and what was not? Which day was the ‘Holy Day’? Which ‘foods’ were permissible to eat and which foods should they not eat? Well, Paul’s answer is this, ‘do what you think is right, and don’t do what you think is wrong’.

As Christians, our moral and holy standards are set for us in the Bible. We have been given the Ten Commandments as guidelines for our lives, often echoed by Jesus in His teachings. Yet what about the grey areas? What about the things we are not sure of, that could be right or could be wrong? Things that are not specifically written in the ‘rules’? Well, Paul’s answer in Romans 14:23 is simple, “if you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning”. Yet where does this surety of what is right or wrong come from? Answer: The Holy Spirit living in you. It is the Holy Spirit’s convictions in us, that help us to know what is wrong or right. His voice in our hearts is like a spiritual alarm bell that alerts us to the dangers of sin. The challenge is, to then accept His prompting and not suppress His voice.

Love God Love People: The Greatest Commandment

love-god-people

 

8th September

 

Teacher. Which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses? Jesus replied, “‘You must the Lord your God with all you heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’”

Matthew 22:36-39

Jesus, in discussion with the Sadducees and Pharisees, was asked a faith defining question by an expert in religious law. He was trying to trick Jesus into saying something controversial or ‘heretical’ yet Jesus’ answer not only silenced His critics, but set a moral foundation for what our faith and ‘religion’ should look like forever. Jesus’ answer highlighted two basic human guidelines: Our need to love God and our need to love each other.

Loving God, encompasses and includes every part of our lives. ‘Our hearts, our souls and our minds’ is a holistic imagery or loving God with every part of you. Whatever you think about, whatever is going on in your hearts, with every ounce of our lives, we are commanded to love God. Jesus didn’t say these words because He was being egotistic. He said these words, because out of our loving bond with Jesus and our relationship with God, is birthed love for others. The root of love is God. It started with Him and continues in Him. Without our relationship with God we cannot love others. Our relationship with God is the perfect example of acceptance, grace and mercy.

Loving God is not only us putting Him first in our lives or even including Him in all we do, think and say. It is also receiving and accepting His love too. In fact, we cannot love God, if we first don’t accept His love. After all, the root of love, starts from God. When we learn to accept God’s love, we can love Him with everything in us, and in turn love others too. Our image of ourselves increases as we discover how much God truly loves us too.