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Today’s Truth

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Romans 14:19

Friend to Friend

I’ve got lots of opinions, not gonna lie. You do too, right? I’ll go even one step further by assuming that your opinions and my opinions are not perfectly in synch. Agreed?

Differences of opinion among people are more numerous than grains of sand in the ocean. Disputable matters in the church are no exception. Freedoms and convictions are not the same in every heart. Unfortunately, these areas of contention can cause conflict in our hearts, relationships, and communities of faith if we let them.

My family and I got thrown into a situation recently that caused some harm and confusion. The perception and convictions of another was pressed upon us, and the consequences were anything but peaceful. Much of it was a misunderstanding about a social media post, but the reaction was layered in judgment and accusation.

We agonized and prayed over how to respond in a way that would honor God. My family and I talked through flesh-led responses (revenge, defensiveness, etc.) versus Spirit-led responses (humility, love, grace, forgiveness) and, in all honesty, we also wrestled with justifiably inflamed feelings of hurt.

Paul spoke of these types of in-the-church tensions in the letter he penned to the believers in Rome. He explained that the freedoms we have in Christ are to be handled responsibly, in love, and that we are to be careful to not allow our freedoms to cause a person of weaker faith (or different convictions) to stumble.

Let me be clear, this is not a conversation about Biblical activities that are clearly forbidden or addressed. This is about us creating our own rules and expectations of how other believers should or shouldn’t behave, think, or believe. {Hunker down, girlfriend, ‘cuz we are about to go there.}

Romans chapter 14 addresses this issue head on.

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. (Romans 14:1-4)

Even when others wound us with accusations and differing expectations, God can and will tenderly teach and heal hearts that are intent to walk in His ways. In the tension of our recent family challenge, I looked for the lessons found in God’s Word.

Paul’s writings to believers in Rome led me to consider a few heart directives:

ACCEPT THEM: Gah! Don’t sidestep, stiff-arm, alienate, or reject that person. (V. 1)

DON’T QUARREL: Followers of Christ have different opinions. When a believer has differing opinions and convictions, I am to be concerned with my own convictions of faith, not fuss and quarrel about theirs. (V. 1)

DON’T JUDGE: I should act according to my conscience because I am accountable to Christ. (V. 12) And when another believer has different convictions, I’m not to judge them. (V. 4,13)

Paul went on to instruct Roman believers in Chapter 14 with this…

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. 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. (V. 10-14)

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (V. 17-19)

These Scriptures also lead me to search my heart:

Am I determined not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of another believer?

Am I making EVERY EFFORT to do what leads to peace?

If the answer to either of these questions is NO, then I’m in violation of God’s Biblical standard and I need to humbly get with Him on the issue. {Warm and fuzzy, right?!}

Truth is truth and the Word is the Word. Following Christ isn’t always easy, but it is always best and always what brings Him the glory He deserves.

The Bible calls us to unity, love, and peace in Christ as a body of believers – even when we differ in opinions. When all is said and done, it honors God when we make every effort to love well and align our heart with the teachings of His Word. Join me today?

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Forgive me for the times when I’m more concerned about the conviction of others than I am about my own. Help me to accept other believers without quarreling or judgment, and keep me from doing or saying anything that would cause another to stumble in their faith.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Read 1 Corinthians 8:9-13. How might this apply to you?

More from the Girlfriends

Gwen Smith is a speaker, worship leader, songwriter, and author of the new book, I Want I ALL, which includes a Bible Study Guide right in the back of the book! There are endless opportunities for us to worry, wander, and wonder. But that’s not God’s best for us. Though we remain broken and impacted by an imperfect world, you and I can get through anything in the power and hope of Jesus. CLICK HERE to get a FREE Ebook: 7 Day I WANT IT ALL Devotional and Bible Study, and join Gwen Smith as she shares Biblical truth, honest struggles, and practical help.

10 Responses to “Make Every Effort to Do This”

  1. Andrea says:

    This is just so wonderful. Hits on so many societal issues today. Thank you! Thank you!

  2. Laura says:

    I am very aware that others choose certain things to abstain from because it has been me. In my freedom, now I choose by leadership of the Holy Spirit. God never promised the cross would not be heavy. Let’s choose to put on our Jesus glasses and love everyone. It is so easy to fall into the trap of picking out faults in the church, let’s choose rather to see the gifts by spending time with God every day, praying continuously and holding each other accountable in Godly love rather than ignoring or like you said, cold shouldering someone. I promise you that someone else will be watching when we do that and we will inadvertently alienate more than one person. My heart lies with you. Help always comes in perfect time. Thank you for this sweet reminder. Prayers for Gods churches.

  3. Edith Robillard says:

    I love girlfriends in God, it helps me to get started every morning. I loved today’s writing, it really touched home. I use the Bible verse” Judge not for thy shall be judged like wise” so often. I try so hard not to judge other people because I don’t know their story. May God bless y’all and keep up the writing, great job. Thanks.

  4. Jackie Diamond says:

    Thank you Gwen, I definitely needed your words of wisdom today.

  5. Lillie White says:

    Every word was for me today. I am convicted and blessed. God Bless You Gwen!

  6. Amanda Queen says:

    These devotions mean so much to me each morning.

  7. Mandy Foley says:

    Great devotional! Just what I needed. I have been struggling lately do to a course of events that left me feeling as if I abandoned my beliefs and faith and Jesus, but this devotion ended that struggle for ms. It enabled me to see that my lack of insistence could have been just what Jesus ordered for the good of another! Thank you Gwen.

  8. Dina Carias says:

    you nailed it girl!!! great reminder for me not to judge others.. thanks

  9. Genevieve Maynard says:

    Thank you. I appreciate this devotion.God bless your ministry.

  10. rhonda says:

    Thank you, this spoke to my heart deeply, the truth can hurt but we need to hear it, was convicted while reading this message but I know it will help me with my walk with Christ

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