Balanced Faith

Romans 14:13-23 explains the balance one must have on the tightrope of Christian liberty. On the one hand is self-control and the other end is love for others.
In v. 13 Paul addresses both the weak in faith, whose excessive caution might make them fearful and legalistic, and the strong, whose love for liberty might make them callous and careless. He challenges both to avoid judging or despising one another as worthless based on how we conduct ourselves in matters of conscience.

The legalist might question the genuine faith of someone who doesn’t share their same convictions while the libertine might question the genuine faith of someone who cannot stop quoting the law. Paul seeks to avoid two specific dangers: the legalist might cause a free-flying, strong Christian to crash to the ground, and the libertine might cause the careful, weak Christian to fall into sin. He names these obstacle, and stumbling block, respectively.


1. Living a balanced life means nothing is clean or unclean by itself
Inanimate objects can be neither good or bad because they do not have a mind or a will. Idols are nothing until someone ascribes significance to them. Meat offered to fictitious gods is not different than any other meat, except the meaning attached to it by people.

For example, alcohol is not evil, and bars are not evil places. Alcohol abuse is evil and evil people may go to bars. Alcohol can lead to evil behavior, but the inanimate object is not evil.
When someone stands on feeble legs of faith, the mature believer has a choice: love for pleasure or love for others.

2. Living a balanced faith means understanding the essence of Christianity is not found in external matters
It’s easy to get hung up on tangible things such as food, clothing, or music, but the organ of life’s rich delights is not the stomach, it’s the heart.

What’s your focus? Are you more concerned with people’s preferences than the true product of Christian growth? Let’s serve Christ by giving one another space to breath and respecting the sensibilities of others.

3. Living a balanced faith means understanding that when my liberty hinders the work of the Spirit, it must yield
Nothing should hinder the work of God; we must keep our focus on what’s important.
We must remember that some Christians are stronger in their faith than others, but there is always someone stronger than us. Everyone has room for growth, everyone is still learning to maintain balance.

It takes love to let others be. If you find yourself thinking less of another believer because they enjoy something distasteful to you, you are the weak faith person in that relationship!

Paul offers three simple reminders to help us maintain balanced faith.

1. Be considerate
When you’re in public, don’t restrict yourself unnecessarily, but be aware of the potential effect your actions have on others. Be sensitive to reaction and graciously adjust your behavior accordingly.

2. Be convinced
Many Christians are not clear within themselves what they believe so they live in perpetual frustration trying to please everyone around them. However, everyone is different and their convictions are contradictory.

Once you’ve carefully examined a matter of conscience and determined what Scripture has to say, you can enjoy it with confidence.

3. Be consistent
Consistently match your actions to your conscience. Even so, don’t be surprised when your conscience gradually changes over time. My list of Christian standards has grown shorter as I have walked with the Lord longer yet I also once had several areas of Christian freedom to take part in before that my conscience no longer allows.

Being a good Christian isn’t about me or what I do, it’s about Jesus because He finished the work.  
Pastor Chris Williams
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