Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK EIGHT
ORBIT – DAY THIRTY NINE
Hello and welcome to another Orbit – the devotional from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Each weekday we look together at a little bit of the Bible, and ask how we might be able to apply it to today. Please do tell your friends and family about these daily readings if you think they’d find them helpful. At the moment we’re working our way through Paul’s letter to the Romans – as he explains some of the most important ideas of the Christian faith to the early church.
BIBLE READING – Romans 14: 10-15
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.
There are some parts of the Bible which are hard to capture in just a few verses. To really get the most out of today’s reading, I encourage you to have a look at the whole of Romans chapter 14. In case you’re not persuaded however, let me do a quick recap. Paul is speaking into disputes within the church about whether certain foods and practices are allowable. He uses the example of meat eaters and vegetarians – but actually this is probably a metaphor for a wide range of disagreements, including for example, seeing one day of the week as holier than the others.
Essentially, some people were judging some other people within the church for their choices about how they honour God with their lifestyles. And in 2021, that actually sounds pretty familiar!
Paul’s big point in this chapter, is the same one that has been expressed in tattoos and rap songs alike: only God can judge. We will all stand before God at the end of our lives, and have to give account for the way that we lived them. If we chose only to eat vegetables as a way of honouring God, then that is between us and God. It’s nobody else’s job to get in the middle of that relationship.
Does that mean that you can do whatever you like? Well yes, and, not really. What Paul seems to be saying is that we should trust each other to be so close to God, that we are able to discern what he wants for our lives. Of course some of that comes through reading the Bible, and through being a family together as church, but ultimately our relationship with God only ever contains two people.
When we put God at the centre of our lives, we make him our primary identity. When we do that, everything else falls into place in the light of who he is. So then, it is our job to get as close as we can to God, and then it’s up to us to figure out what that means for the rest of our lives.
It’s very tempting to pass judgement on others, especially when their interpretation of God’s will seem so radically different to our own. But it seems that Paul is inviting us to trust them, and more than that trust the Holy Spirit, to take responsibility. Our job is to focus on our own relationship with God, not anyone else’s.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Lord I choose to put you at the centre of my life. I ask you to draw ever closer to me, and to show me what it means to follow you, every day, and in every part of my life. Forgive me for when I pass judgements on other people, and lead me away from the temptation of doing so today. Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Have you ever asked yourself – what would it really mean to put God at the centre of my life? Not just theoretically, but practically – in every area? Today, take one part of your life that you don’t normally give much thought to God in – it could be gaming, your sports team, or even a school subject – and ask: what would it mean for me to do this with God at the centre? Then try to put it into practice, straight away.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email email@example.com, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!