( Romans 14:19 )
As believers we have more in common with our brothers and sisters in Christ than we have with the natural family we were born into. When we accepted Jesus as our savior we were reborn into God's family and now share a wonderful heritage based on His promises. This all stems from faith in Jesus and is a bond that will transcend both time and distance. We will spend all eternity with these people so it makes sense for us to aim and eagerly pursue harmony and mutual edification with each other.
So many times we let minor divisions separate and cause dissension among us instead of realizing that we were called into one body. We should be pursuing peace among each other, encouraging and building up one another instead of tearing each other down by our actions and behaviors. No matter what convictions we hold to we are to always consider our fellow brethren and behave in a way that will build them up instead of causing confusion in their lives. Paul said in the previous verses, "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men" ( Romans 14:17-18 ). There are more important things to consider than satisfying our own needs. We are a part of the kingdom and what we do has eternal significance.
So many people struggle over these kinds of issues such as eating, drinking or traditions and doctrines of the church. But Paul gave a great rule of thumb in I Corinthians, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God- even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved" ( I Corinthians 10:31-33 ). The bottom line is that whatever you do make sure you are doing it for the glory of God and it will be accepted. Our behavior should be above reproach in this world not because our acceptance with God depends on it, but because our behavior will be seen by others and by this thereby glorify our Father in heaven. Paul sought to please others in order that many would be saved. The same principle applies to us today, we should not seek our own interest but the interests of Christ and our actions should build and encourage His body.
What an amazing thing to belong to something so wonderful. We do not belong to ourselves anymore and as such we should live like WHO we are and WHOSE we are. Today I pray that you will have an eternal perspective in life and that your behavior and actions reflect that mindset. May you live your life leading to peace and mutual edification in the body of Christ and your actions lead others into this fellowship by turning them to Jesus who can save them, amen.