Thursday, July 30, 2009

Romans 14

So let us try to do what makes peace and helps one another (v19)

I can imagine this verse, along with other content in this chapter, becoming fodder for someone who wants to align the Bible with moral relativism. Let’s not take things out of context. Paul is writing specifically about eating and holidays. These are rituals related to the old testament law. I think that the statement could reasonably be applied to church traditions and music, which are modern counterparts to the things he was dealing with in this time. It does not, in my opinion, extend to issues like divorce and abortion that seem to be considered “morally grey” these days. Verse 17 seems to support that the statement in 19 is limited in scope:

In the kingdom of God, eating and drinking are not important. The important things are living right with God, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Personally, I have felt the power of this whole concept in a way that crystallized verses 22-23 very well:

Your beliefs about these things should be kept secret between you and God. People are happy if they can do what they think is right without feeling guilty.23 But those who eat something without being sure it is right are wrong because they did not believe it was right. Anything that is done without believing it is right is a sin.

TMI Warning, but here we go. I struggle with knowing what God really wants for me in the area of family planning. At one point in my marriage, my husband and I both felt like God was speaking clearly that everything in our lives was ready for us to have children. The problem was that we didn’t feel ready. I don’t feel guilty about not trying to have a baby from the first night of my marriage. However, once God made it clear that He wanted something else from us, there was no end to the trouble we had with our consciences and even our relationship until we decided to comply. Once we understood that we were living out of line with God, our actions became sinful and we began paying the price in our spirits and lives. We never expected that God would follow up with a pregnancy within a month of that decision, but that was His plan.
I have since had a second child and find myself needing to make a decision about the future. I know what God has placed on my heart, but I remain afraid to act on it. Despite 20/20 hindsight of the messes I have made and miracles God has worked, I remain lured by the idea of staying in control. So remains the cry of my heart- Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.