If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die,
we die for the Lord.
So, whether we live or die,
we belong to the Lord. Romans 14:8 NIV
If you go and look at the rest of this chapter its all about the controversies over what foods one should eat or drink and regarding particular days as special. What it all boils down to is faith.
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
The other concern is based upon loving our neighbors and not causing others believers to stumble as a result of our choices in these matters.
20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean,but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.
At this time in the history of the church there was a mix of people who had come from a Jewish background who had been taught that some foods were clean and to be eaten and others were not to be eaten. As more and more gentile believers became part of the mix from all sorts of cultures and ethnic groups controversies abounded over food, drink and cultural celebrations.
I guess I wonder why God did not continue the dietary laws of the Old Testament with the establishment of the Church. I suppose the emphasis changed from keeping the law, which basically showed us that we are incapable of fully keeping God's standards. We each and everyone of us falls short of God's will and ways. It shows us that we are in need of a savior to restore us to right relationship with the God of the Universe. The focus became faith in Christ rather than a civil and dietary code of conduct. Jesus fulfilled the law completely. There was no longer a need for regular sacrifices to atone for ones sin. Jesus paid the price for all these things once and for all.
The message in the end to this mix of Jewish and Gentile converts and to us as well is to not to cause others to stumble as a result of our choices. The other believers around you are the work of God. We are all works in process. What the area of growth and focus is in my life may be very different from what God is working on at this time in you. We are not a vast army of clones that have been saved and brought into the kingdom. We are each individuals with varied pasts and our own array of brokenness. God alone understands fully his plans and purposes for our lives. He alone understands how we have been broken and what it will take to restore us to wholeness. His desire is that we love one another. That we extend grace to others as he has extended grace to us.
Our verse today says "If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord.
So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord." Romans 14:8 NIV
I suppose we are all living and dying at the same time. We are alive in Christ yet our mortal bodies wear out and eventually die. We are spiritual creatures who live in fragile earth suits.
I always liked this quote from Rich Mullins, "Live like you'll die tomorrow, die knowing that you'll live forever." I guess it brings us to the question - how are you living for the Lord?
Are you taking care of your earth suit so it will last long enough for you to accomplish the things that God has prepared for you to do?
The photos today are ones that I took of a display of clothing made from balloons. As I was looking for something to go along with the post title of Fragile Earth Suits I found these in my photo library. I wished that I could tell you more about their creators. So I looked very closely at the photos and I noticed in the bottom of this last photo that there is a sign at the bottom that says Artwork by Air Art. I could not read the rest but I did a little web searching and came up with an artist with the same logo. Here it is this guy, Ryan Oelrich
does some amazingly creative things with balloons. http://airsculpting.com/