Jumping Through Hoops

Description

Although you must not be ruled by culture, you still have to live in it. How can you be sensitive to those around you?

Pray: 

God, help me to walk in humility and to allow You to teach me to see things like You do.

Read: 

Acts 21:17-26

Reflect: 

How can we be relevant while remaining faithful?

Paul arrives in Jerusalem to hear that his words have been twisted by people who did not understand the weight and context of his teaching (21). While it's true that Paul put less importance on circumcision (Rom. 2:25-29), he also promoted unity by not upsetting other Christians, or causing them to "stumble" (Rom. 14:13,14). To counteract the gossip, James encourages Paul to participate in a ritual cleansing with some other believers (24).

There is a right way to show respect for others' practices. As Paul went on to write in Romans 14, if your actions distress another believer, then you should try your hardest not to offend. Imagine a meat eater has been invited to dinner by a vegetarian friend. It would be incredibly ungracious for the guest to take out a steak and slap it on the table!

The grace of Christ gives us such freedom. We are no longer bound by a complicated law. But we must temper this freedom by asking ourselves if our behavior is advancing the Gospel and uniting the church.

Apply: 

Although we must not be ruled by culture, we still live within it. What does that mean for you in your context?

Pray: 

Father, help me to be sensitive to those around me and create no stumbling block for the Gospel.

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