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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”—Romans 14:19 (NKJV)
Let’s face it: The world would be a much better place if everyone just agreed with me. Right?
Sadly, that is not the case. Put three Christians in the same room and you are bound to have three distinctly different opinions on pretty much any subject. Should we stick to somber hymns with accompanying organ or clap to contemporary guitar tunes? Do we slightly sprinkle the baby at the altar or fully immerse grown-ups? Is Jesus coming back for the Church before the tribulation, or should I run for the hills and hide now?
Since the early church age, contention over preferences and positions has plagued the body of Christ. This is why the apostle Paul challenges the believers in Rome to persist in working toward peace. We are called to mutually contend for the faith, rather than demand our way and fragment the fellowship.
The enemy of our souls loves to plant seeds of discord, and we must be alert to his schemes and uproot the weeds of pride and selfishness that seek to stunt our growth. Rather than criticize and condemn, we are called to strengthen and solidify as we yield to the Holy Spirit.
The context of Romans 14 outlines exactly how peace is cultivated. Verse 1 encourages us to “welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do” (Romans 14:1 MSG). Following our convictions should never mean belittling our brother who may be weaker in the faith. We should selflessly surrender our rights if our choices are provoking one another to stumble. Rather than bicker over what is inconsequential in light of eternity, we should strive to build each other up in the faith.
Let’s purpose to promote peace and make the church a no-nitpicking zone.
DIG: Read Hebrews 12:14-15. Why is actively pursuing peace in the church body so important?
DISCOVER: Read Ephesians 4:1-3. What qualities does Paul say characterize those who work toward promoting peace?
DISPLAY: Spend time this week praying for God to help you be a peacemaker rather than a nitpicker.