Romans 14:20-23 – 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. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
Let’s pretend we’re on the birthday party planning committee for a kid and we have some decisions to make about what food to serve and what to do during the party.
Should we have cake? No! There are some kids who are obese and weak when it comes to cake. We don’t want to cause them to stumble or struggle!
How about ice cream? No! Because what if there’s a Hindu kid there? In the Hindu culture, the cow is sacred, so the milk that makes the ice cream is sacred and serving ice cream would desecrate their family history and violate their conscience. Not to mention the lactose intolerant people!
What about presents? No! Because some kids are poor, and they feel bad that they can’t give the nice gifts. They’ll economically stumble because they didn’t get their economic stimulus check yet.
So, can we sing happy birthday? No! Because it’s a pagan song! Next thing you know, they’ll be listening to heavy metal, smoking joints, wearing all black, going to KISS concerts, and voting for socialism.
Should we celebrate the birthday at all? No! Because there’s only two people who celebrated their birthday in the Bible – Herod and Pharaoh – and they were both godless pagans.
This is what a religious person who makes too many rules sounds like. Instead of making lots of rules and regulations for your kids and for other people, trust that the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to work in their lives and empower them to make the right choices for them and their family.
What legalisms and rules have you added to situations where you need to just let the Holy Spirit act in someone’s life?
To find the free Romans 12-16 digital study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.