We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The beginning of chapter fifteen is really an extension of chapter fourteen. In verse one, Paul makes the case for why the stronger believer at times should defer to the weaker believer. The way of love demands it. The strong believer does not forsake his conscience by abstaining from certain of his/her freedoms, but the weaker believer would have to violate his/her conscience to accommodate the liberties of the strong. Therefore, the strong should choose to exercise restraint in exercising their Christian liberty. Paul points out that Jesus modeled this in his life and death. Once again, we are reminded that we are to act with other’s best interest in mind. This kind of selfless behavior is truly the mark of a mature believer who is living in submission to the Holy Spirit.
Paul closes out this topic in verses five and six with a prayer. Paul’s prayer is that God will bring these house churches of Rome to the place of harmony, love, and unity that will enable them to best honor God. We glorify God when we act with “one mind and one voice.” Unity is crucial if we are to reach this world with the Gospel. Unfortunately, we spend too much of our time and energy focusing on disputable matters.
This topic was so important to Paul that he devoted a whole chapter to it. We would do well to heed his warnings and apply these principles to our lives and church. If we don’t, we leave the door open for the enemy to attack. Satan seeks to kill and destroy, while Jesus came that we might experience the abundant life that God gives to those who trust in Him.
Questions to Ponder
Why should the strong defer to the weak? What are you doing to promote peace and unity within the church family? How does your life glorify God? Are you experiencing the abundant life that Jesus promised in John 10:10?
- Praise the Lord, our God, who gives endurance and encouragement. Ask to be filled with the fullness of His Holy Spirit so that You, too may encourage those around you.
- Ask the Lord to pour out His dunamis power (dynamite power) within each of us by strengthening us and granting endurance and encouragement so that we may have unity among ourselves as we follow Christ Jesus. May we be compelled by love.
- Pray that we all will have one heart and one mind to glorify the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
- Pray we will accept one another just as Jesus Christ has accepted us to bring praise to God.
Abba, Papa, I praise You for bring my Living Hope, the Anchor of my soul, Sure Foundation, Rock, and Shield. I ask, God of hope, that You would fill me and Your church up with all Your joy and peace as we trust in You. I ask that each one of us will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Draw us into the place of intimacy with You, Lord God, and then, by Your Holy Spirit, empower us to run with You in the place of ministry, to glorify You and Your name. May You have first place in our hearts and lives individually and corporately as one body, as Your Bride. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.