“Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind…
The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”
-Romans 14:5-8 [Emphasis Added]
Within the Church, there are so many different opinions. One person thinks that tattoos are evil, one thinks that they are a beautiful expression of art. One eats meat because God has approved it, and another is a vegetarian because they don’t want to see animals killed. One thinks that the United States is obligated to care for refugees, another believes that it is the personal responsibility of each Christian to care for the least.
It can be disheartening and confusing when you feel like all Christians end up on different pages. The differing opinions and varied styles and ideas lead to strife within the Church. We argue about what a ‘real Christian’ does.
You know how we need to analyze decisions?
By holding them up to God’s word.
Romans 14 provides a wonderful passage on differing opinions in the Church (and I encourage you to read the whole thing in proper context). It contrasts and compares Christians who viewed different things through different lenses. And guess what the conclusion was?
If people weren’t walking in sin or causing the sin of others, they were all right.
If you’re striving to follow Christ, his Word, and to kill sin in your life, and you’re actively running your choices through those lenses, you’re probably doing just fine. Romans 14 urges everyone to live ‘fully convinced’. As an example, I am a conservative because I find conservatism to be the most moral, factual, and logical political option; I am fully convinced that this is the correct way. However, I know Christians who are liberals, and while I entirely disagree with them (and also find their train of thought illogical), they are fully convinced that they are right.
Following this train of thought, there are certain political choices (like abortion) that are clearly dictated by the Word of God; I think all Christians must be pro-life if we’re trying to walk in step with Jesus. However, topics like the economy? You can argue back and forth on the consequences of both capitalism and socialism, but the thing that truly matters is being convinced in your own mind (and with the wisdom and guidance of others) that the path you are taking keeps you in right standing with God and that it is the correct path.
If you’re not fully convinced, why would you do something?
While within the Church we may have differing opinions on a whole host of issues, the wonderful thing is that there are so many issues we CAN have differing opinions on. We’re not creating to all think exactly the same way; that’s a beautiful part of our individuality. Walk with Christ, seek his wisdom and the wisdom of those around you, and be fully convinced that the direction you take on things is correct.
It is through being fully convinced and fully sanctified that the Church, with all its diversity, can be built together into one body.