Romans 14:16 “Let not then your good be evil spoken of:”
Christianity today is under attack. It is openly challenged as to it’s validity, sincerity, and usefulness to man in this world. Atheists openly declare that God does not exist to which I ask a simple question – “Why is there any need whatsoever to make declaration, stand in opposition and take a stand against something or Someone that you say does not even exist?” Sounds like wasted energy to me.
But I digress…
Today, this verse and those following, truly struck me in a way that has challenged me in the past and is the need for the church to look at very seriously. My position with God was settled June 18th, 1990 when I put my faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. I became a born-again child of God. That day, things changed. Perceptions, viewpoints and my spirituality changed forever.
I was no longer living for myself; I had purpose, direction and a destination. I became a soldier placed into battle. I was now commissioned as an ambassador for the King of Kings. What I say, where I go, who I’m with and how I present myself is reflective of whose child I have become. My speech, my dress, the way I carry myself is not to be taken lightly – I am to be distinct.
Today, Christianity is represented by her children. In many ways, we fail miserably to represent Him properly to a world who needs Him so desperately. We are to be ‘peculiar’.
Titus 2:14 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
1 Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”
Webster’s dictionary defines ‘peculiar’ this way:
PECU’LIAR, a. L. peculiaris, from peculium, one’s own property, from pecus, cattle.
1. Appropriate; belonging to a person and to him only. Almost every writer has a peculiar style. Most men have manners peculiar to themselves.
2. Singular; particular. The man has something peculiar in his deportment.
3. Particular; special.
My fate is Juno’s most peculiar care.
Most cannot, in strict propriety, be prefixed to peculiar, but it is used to give emphasis to the word.
4. Belonging to a nation,system or other thing, and not to others.
It does not say ‘odd’, or ‘quirky’, but set us apart with distinction; special; belonging to something or Someone special.
We, who name the name of Christ as Savior must refrain from using truth as a weapon to beat others into submission. Truth – more specifically, the Word of God is what draws the lost to God.
John 12:32 “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
There are such extreme examples today of just how people feel we should live out the Christian life. There are those who feel Christ should be able to accept us no matter what we wear – yet there is much in the Bible that talks of modesty and distinction for both sexes. There are those whose doctrine is so stringent that they cannot even live out the life the propose.
It is not a prerequisite for salvation – that would be legalism. It truly must be – come as you are. It is God who saves; God who cleanses; God who transforms. We must represent Him and His Word properly.
So often, Christ is misrepresented by the very ones whose lives could be a billboard for why to trust Him. I, too, have failed miserably in this area. I used the truth to condemn all of what was wrong with the sinner and utterly failed to lift up the Savior as worthy of their trust. The ‘beat down’ left no room for escape. It only left a bad taste in the mouth of those beaten.
God is good – all the time. For me to allow Him to be evil spoken of because of my testimony is on me. That which is in our control, must be brought in line with what God designed in His Word for His children.
You and I cannot control what others say – but we can control what they see in us. My heart aches that those around me not see the Paul I know, but the Christ within me. May it be in the words that I speak, the kindness with which I treat others, the humility in my actions and the love I show in sincerity that draws others to Jesus.
The chapter follows with:
Romans 14:19 “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
Romans 14:23 “And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
Faith is living according to the belief in the One I cannot see; trusting His Word to guide me and listening to the Holy Spirit He placed inside me to bear witness to what is true.
Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” So that others might see more of You and less of me.