In Romans chapter 14 (see also 1 Corinthians 8), Paul talks to the believers about their differing convictions. Because the meat they could purchase in the marketplace often had been sacrificed in pagan temples, some of the believers had chosen to avoid meat altogether and eat only vegetables. Others chose to eat the meat, knowing the many “gods” were not real gods and that there is only One True God and therefore meat is just meat. Similarly, some chose to “consider some days above others” – probably referring to the observance of the Jewish Sabbath or holy days – while others “regard every day alike” (14:5). Each was acting on his convictions, doing what he believed God would have him do.
But they were also arguing with and judging one another, trying to get others to see it their way, and condemning those who had chosen to act differently.
Paul wanted the believers to understand that when it comes to secondary issues–concerns not clearly spelled out in Scripture–that each one answers directly to his Master (14:4), not to one another, and that we must not allow our wrong attitudes to become a stumbling block to others in their relationship with Christ (14:13,15,19). Honestly, He may ask you to do something differently from what He asks me to do–even in similar situations–because He knows the best way to accomplish His purpose and to reach the person He is working to reach in each situation.
I have to tell you though, what struck me most about this passage was the way that Paul zeroed in on the heart of the matter and summed it up by saying, “…whatever is not from faith is sin.” (14:23) It comes down to faith, once again. We must chose to act based on faith, based on what we know to be true according to Scripture, what we know to be in agreement with the Nature of God and the Will of God. When we choose what is contrary to faith, for us it is sin.
If God has been dealing with you in some area of your life, you have a choice. You can say yes, or say no. You can choose to listen to His leading and step out in faith to follow Him, or you can choose not to listen and continue to go your own way. But before you choose not to listen to God, consider the words of Jesus:
…take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.