{"devotional":{"title":"Aug 22 Receive those weak in the faith","content":"

\"Aug<\/a>Rom 14:1 Now receive~~<\/b><\/i>\u00a0the one who is weak in the faith, and do not have disputes over differing opinions.<\/i><\/p>\r\n

Paul was meticulous in guiding believers to eliminate sinful practices: \u201cLet us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God\u201d<\/i> (2 Cor 7:1). However, flagrant sin is not the only danger to church life.<\/p>\r\n

Many disputes are not about direct violations of a command, and godly believers might have different opinions on a number of topics. When there are no direct commands, the issue is not a question of sin, but preferences in how to apply a general principle. Wrong attitudes can cause division, rejection, a critical spirit, a rupture of peace, and the destruction of personal ministries. Legalistic beliefs that focus on external or physical issues can result in man--made rules that breed strife, false guilt, judgmental attitudes, and disharmony.<\/p>\r\n

If the commands are not clarified, there can be a heritage of legalism; disputes about hairstyle, makeup, dress, Sunday activities, music style, and so on are symptoms of spiritual problems. Only by the application of biblical principles will the church find harmony.<\/p>\r\n

A person is strong in the faith when he can mingle with unsaved friends without being influenced by them and instead have a positive influence on them. A person\u2019s faith is weak when he must avoid certain activities, people, or places so as not to be tempted to fall back into former sinful habits.<\/span><\/p>\r\n

The command for the church is to \u201creceive the one who is weak in the faith,\u201d<\/i> which means \u201cto take into one\u2019s company, or welcome.\u201d Paul repeated the command: \u201cReceive one another, just as Christ also received us\u201d<\/i> (Rom 15:7). Jewish converts had stringent dietary rules and special days, and they were to avoid anything even remotely associated with paganism. Gentile converts had a much simpler faith centered on the Bible and what it commanded, without adding any human traditions. It was easy for both groups to become critical of each other.<\/p>\r\n

Differences in nondoctrinal issues must be respected without straining the \u201cbond of peace\u201d<\/i> and unity in the church (Eph 4:3). Are you critical of others who have stricter convictions than your own or vice versa?<\/p>\r\n

\u201cEven though new believers in my church may have legalistic views or want to change everything, I vow to keep Your attitude of acceptance, forgiveness, and patience toward all believers.\u201d<\/i><\/p>"}}