Text: Romans 14:13-23
For attentiveness to those you meet
To cultivate righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
For all who work in food-related industries
IN HIS DISCUSSION over eating or not eating particular foods, Paul gives an example of spiritual maturity, the goal of Christian discipleship. The question among the Roman Christians is whether it is permissible to eat meats purchased from the markets, because in the butchering process a portion would likely have been sacrificed to a household or commerce god as an act of worship, in the same way that you or I might say grace over a restaurant meal. This standard practice at the market created a conundrum for Christians—should they eat what has been dedicated to a pagan god? Paul answers the theological/Scriptural question but notice that his emphasis is elsewhere. “Look to how you can be Christ’s servant; do that, and your relation to God and your fellow believers will take care of themselves (verse 18, paraphrased).”
So what is spiritual maturity? Paul gives a succinct answer in another letter: “We proclaim him, teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect [mature] in Christ” (Colossian. 1:28). A fuller answer would take several more paragraphs, but Christlikeness is the goal, the purpose of the Christian life. And Christlikeness is not achieved by our own efforts—it begins with another, when Jesus Christ invites us into relationship with him, when his intentions begin to flow into our lives, and we grow (develop) in his glorious light. Spiritual maturity begins when we answer his call, do as he commends/commands, and trust him for the results.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks