Devotion for March 19
By Bryan Chapell

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. (Rom. 14:1-3)

Many different experiences shape our opinions, and God’s Word does not cover every detail of how to deal with these. We are given principles to guide our judgments and relationships, and then we are expected to apply these principles within the boundaries of God’s commands.

Inevitably Christian will have some differences about matters that are not explicitly commanded. How do we handle those? We prioritize the good of others and do not delight in judging or quarreling.

Paul advises selfless care for the weak, but then strangely describes the weak as the most strict in their religious practices. Their weakness is not in their zeal but in their application of God’s grace. How should we relate to them? By being gracious toward them.

We start by clearly distinguishing biblical commands from “good ideas.” We can’t require others to follow our good ideas. In fact, churches often fracture when some people decide their good idea is others’ command.

We can only require what God commands, and among those commands is this: Do not quarrel over disputable matters. God’s grace frees us from having to earn his acceptance by meeting others’ expectations. It also frees us from the unholy pride or prejudice of judging others based merely on our preferences.

Heavenly Father, enable me to avoid quarreling with other Christians over disputable matters—especially since they are your servants, not mine! Help me to be gracious toward those I think are weak, lest I be.

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