Here’s today’s passage:
14:5 One person regards one day holier than other days, and another regards them all alike. Each must be fully convinced in his own mind. 14:6 The one who observes the day does it for the Lord. The one who eats, eats for the Lord because he gives thanks to God, and the one who abstains from eating abstains for the Lord, and he gives thanks to God.
Here the focus is on the importance of having personal convictions before God. In these gray areas where scripture doesn’t give universal mandates we need to be sure that we personally have sought out what God expects of us and be “fully convinced.” Yesterday we read that we don’t have to answer to each other, keeping unity. But today we’re reminded that we will answer to Him. This must keep us alert, dilligent, and intentional in our decisions and choices.
I’m also noting that God may convict believers differently and hold them to different standards. It’s good to remember this. My way is not necessarily God’s plan for everyone, so I need to guard against judging them.
Verse 6 makes me observe that it’s your heart that matters to God more than your behavior. “To God” and “for the Lord” indicates that it’s the motivation and sincerety of believers that are important. Believers may practice opposite behaviors, yet may each be God-honoring.
I had some interesting Facebook discussions about this concept last fall before the election. One friend particularly struggled with the fact that some Christians were convinced that God wanted them to vote for McCain and yet other Christians felt God wanted them to vote for Mr. Obama (not to mention those of us who felt God wanted us to vote 3rd party). It was unsettling for my friend to consider that God might direct people differently.
Romans 14 tells us not to be concerned about such things. It is enough to know that we each answer to God alone and that we should extend freedom for others to do the same. We can trust God to work in more ways than just ours.