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Darlene

Romans 14:2-4

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Heavenly Father,

 

Out of all the things I can choose to do in a day...out of all the heart warming surprises that may present themselves at any given moment... none of those things, when I'm pursuing something happy or fulfilling or fun, can begin to compare with how much it means to me to sit here right now, with You. As I prepare to go into today's study, I know I'm entering into Your presence because it is Your Word, Your Truth. This is a comforting place for me...it's a place where things feel 'just right'. It's a place where that song says it all, "and the things on earth will grow strangely dim..."

 

What is in my heart this morning Father? The need for You is always there, especially when I contemplate it...that knowledge just grows. Your peace is there because You are a Holy God and You love me. THAT is hard to fully absorb...the fact that inspite of everything, You still love me.

 

I have a question though...it's something I've noticed over time but don't quite fully understand. Why is the heart so critical to You? This past week I had a circumstance I was dealing with. It's a circumstances I've dealt with many times over the years, and I know the right perspective to have with it. In years gone by, my heart would yearn for a certain conclusion with these types of circumstances, but I would tell myself over and over again that it wasn't important. I'd make the decision in my mind to let go, and would do that, even though my heart would still yearn.

 

But this time, this past week, in my heart, I really meant it when I told You that it just didn't matter. In my heart I believed it, felt it. So my mind and my heart were in alignment and Your answer came quickly and softly and surprised me.

 

Now I know that even when I believe something in my heart, that does not mean that I get an instant answer from You, but as I feebly try to put into words what I'm trying to say, Your scripture comes to mind: "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

 

Is it that our hearts can't lie? I don't know about anyone else but I cannot control my heart, per se. There are times my heart will run rampant in directions it shouldn't and I can strive to contain it, take it captive (as You say to do in Your Word), and in time, the heart will calm down and Your wisdom will permeate and change the course of its direction. But the fact still remains I have no control over my heart...it is what it is. There have been times in my life when my heart, with all it contains, was in great error before You. I couldn't stop it, I couldn't change it...all I could do is fall on my knees and admit those truths in my heart, even though they were wrong. And what did You do? You gave me Your peace and I believe with every fiber of my being, that Your love is greater than my sin...but the fact still remains that my heart, fully confessed and even not yet ready to change, somehow touches Your heart, and flows forth Your compassion, patience, and love.

 

As I look over the past few years, and the journey I've walked with You, it's clear that the lessons You have taught me have always culminated with them being birthed in my heart...deeply so. And it is because it is birthed there, that it is etched in stone in my mind and my life forever.

 

So there's something to this 'heart' thang Father. I don't know why I'm even talking about it...why I feel the need to understand better. I do know that my heart runs free, with great abandon, when it's focused towards You though. It feels secure and safe with You...and that is a huge trust on my part because I guard my heart here on earth in so many ways, for so many reasons. But with You Father God, it is totally stripped bare and lays wide open, by choice.

 

I can't believe You've accomplished that in me. I still remember a time when I didn't trust You at all...I was too afraid of You, so for You to bring me from that point, to here, just stuns me. I've gone from that and only believing and supposedly 'knowing' that I could only count on myself...to believing and knowing that I can only count on You, and the thought of being independent and self sufficient apart from You just scares me.

 

Well Father, I don't know how this prayer has evolved from one topic to another. It feels as if I'm standing before Your holy throne, talking a mile a minute as I walk in circles...You just sit there patiently, loving the fact that I'm talking with You. I can even imagine that a smile touches Your heart as You watch me because I know I can be exhausting sometimes lol, but as I get that all out of my system and I find that I have nothing left to say right now, all I want to do is crawl into Your lap and feel Your arms around me. Why does the thought that I can imagine Jesus sitting at Your right hand, watching this all unfold, feeling a joy and a pride in His heart because I am His gift to You.

 

Geez Father God...that is how You feel about all Your children and I'll never understand why...at least, never truly understand why.

 

Ok Father, I think I've rambled enough in this prayer, but I love talking to You. I'd like to go into Your Word now because I need to be spiritually fed. Grow me, and us Father. Keep us safe and may the knowledge that You are with us every second of the day through Your Spirit, Who lives inside us...Who guides us, convicts us, keeps us safe. How blessed we are that, unlike Your children who lived in the Old Testament times, we literally have Your personal Holy Spirit, living inside our hearts.

 

I love You Father God.

 

In Jesus name I pray,

 

 

2. One man hath faith to eat all things: but he that is weak eateth herbs.

 

3. Let not him that eateth set as nought him that eateth not; and let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

 

4. Who are thou that judgest the house-servant of another? to his own Master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be made to stand; for the Lord hath power to make him stand.

 

The rvbv writes in verse 2: "In this verse Paul illustrates the strength and weakness of faith in a way that not only the Jewish believers of his day, but also people in our day, instantly understand. Faith to eath all things: "Faith" here means knowledge and heart-persuasion that Jewish distinctions of meats do not exist in this dispensation, which knowledge, one having, could eat any food with thankfulness, and with no scruples. Though certain flesh had been forbidden to an Israelite, and may be still regarded as an improper food by many, yet the strong believer remembers how our Lord Himself "made all meats clean" (Mark 7:19); and how Peter, insisting on regarding "all manner of four-footed beasts and creeping things and birds" as "common and unclean," heard God say thrice over, "What God hath cleansed, make not thou common." (Our Lord taught with sunlight clearness, "There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him" (Mark 7:15). The word "nothing" is decidedly emphatic and embraces what we drink as well as what we eat. And the weak in faith must remember this before they condemn the saints who use the liberty here given to them.

 

On the other hand, Paul teaches that this liberty of the strong believer will limit itself by love. There has not been a time since he wrote when it was more necessary to heed this than today. For now there is abundant teaching, in zeal without knowledge, that contradicts and nullifies the principle laid down by Christ. This false teaching binds, without enlightening, the conscience.)

 

To eat all things - At man's creation, God gave him the "green herb" and the fruits of "trees yielding seed." After the Flood, God gave man "every moving thing that liveth," to be food for him (Gen. 9:3). Today, all these foods are for us: herbs, fruits, flesh (and that of "all manner of four-footed beasts and creeping things of earth and birds of the heaven" - Acts 10:12); and Paul also commands Timothy to "use a little wine for his stomach's sake, and his often infirmities."

 

Christian freedom, then, takes no account of former restrictions of either food or drink, except for the weak brother's sake. "All things are clean" must be allowed to cover all things, whether of food or drink. The only restricting thought is of the "weak" brother who does not see this. (There is, of course, to be temperance in the use of all things. "The bishop must be temperate," even as the deacon must not be "given to much wine" (I Tim. 3:2,8).

 

Nor is the man who has intelligent faith deceived by the wily pretenses of these last days, whether of the "vegetarians," or of the don-eat-starch-and-protein-together people. He remembers that God sent the ravens with bread and flesh twice a day to Elijah!).

 

But he that is weak eateth herbs - Mark this! The "vegetarian," if so by conscience, is a "weak" brother. There even are those today who esteem themselves particularly "strong," in abstaining from eating flesh, although God says, meats were "created to be received with thanksgiving, by them that believe and [also] know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified through the Word of God and prayer" (I Tim. 4:3-5). To make distinctions of meats where God has set aside such distinctions, is sad weakness indeed, - and sometimes presumption. However, presumptuous people are not in view of Romans 14:2, but simply those whose faith is not strong enough to enable them to eat the food they have been accustomed to regard as "forbidden."

 

Watchman Nee comments on a few words in the 3rd verse:

 

"Let not him that eateth set at nought him that eateth not"/"let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth: "Concerning the receiving of the believers, Paul used eating (vv. 2-3) and the keeping of days (vv. 5-6) as examples. God's receiving has nothing to do with what we eat or with our keeping of certain days. These are minor, secondary matters that have nothing to do with our salvation and basic faith. Therefore, we should not despise or judge others in these things."

 

"for God hath received him": "The basis on which we receive the believers is that God has received them. God receives people according to His Son. When a person receives God's Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, as his Savior, God receives that person immediately and ushers him into the enjoyment of the Triune God and of all He has prepared and accomplished in Christ for us. We should receive people in the same way and should not be more narrow than God. Regardless of how much they differ from us in doctrinal concepts or religious practices, we must receive them. When we receive people according to God and not according to doctrine or practice, we demonstrate and maintain the oneness of the Body of Christ."

 

The rvbv writes in regard to verse 3: "Let not him that eateth set at nought him that eateth not - Here is a solemn charge to the stronger brother. He that is strong in the liberty of faith is directed not to "set at nought" the weaker one. This applies not to eating only, but to the matter of regarding days, and to any other things people have "scruples" about. How a strong man loves to walk with a little child, holding his hand gently, and not ridiculing or scorning his weakness! Let us walk thus with weaker brethern!

 

And let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth - The weaker brother is not to "judge" the stronger. And note, in the case of the stronger, are used the words, For God hath received him. Doubtless God has received the weaker brother also. But do you know it is much more difficult for us really to believe in our hearts that God approves a man of wide Christian liberty, than to believe that God approves a man of many conscientious scruples? Yet the man of wide, strong faith, is honoring the work of Christ, as the man of trembling conscience has not yet come to do!

 

Verse 4: Paul writes this verse directly regarding this judging, whether secret or open, of Christ's stronger servants by weaker ones; and thus he encourages Christian freedom: Who art thou that judgest another's house-servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be made to stand; for the Lord hath power to make him stand - despite the criticisms and judgings of those who have not his faith.

 

It is striking, and tenderly suggestive, that the word "servant" in this verse is "household servant," or, as we have shortened, "house-servant." How would we, as masters of houses, feel, if, having invited a number of guests to dinner, we should overhear one of these guests criticizing the servant who waited upon him! Now Christ is Head over God's house, and all believers are servants of Christ. Let no one undertake to judge, therefore, a servant of Another - before whom we shall all shortly stand!

 

And meanwhile, no matter what are our failures, or the attitude of others toward us, the fact remains that our Lord "hath power to make us stand," before him, - our only Judge. What a deep comfort these words are!:

 

 

Heavenly Father,

 

I love this, "for the Lord hath power to make him stand".

 

I know this to be true, I believe it, and I have walked it. It is Your power, and Your power alone, that has caused me to stand when I've felt limp and lifeless. That's why I always say, it's You...it's always You because I know when I get to my end and give up. Sometimes I've begun to loosen my finger grasps from Your hand, but You have never, ever, ever, let go of me...and You somehow raise me up and cause me to stand.

 

I don't know how You do it, but You do because You are a faithful God...far more than we can even comprehend, so open the eyes of our heart Lord, and cause us to know You a little deeper.

 

Bless this day Father, and all who read this study. May it glorify You because it sure ain't about me.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

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