Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 15:1
“Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.” – Romans 15:1
In Romans 14, Paul speaks of how we are not to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ. “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:1-4. And also not to cause our brother or sister to stumble. “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.” Romans 14:13. These two ideas are very important so that we do not cause spiritual problems for our fellow Christians.
Now, moving on to chapter 15, we read our focus verse, “Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.” Romans 15:1. In the two passages above from chapter 14, Paul is clearly saying we should accept our weaker brothers and sisters in Christ and not pass judgement on them regarding their ways just because we may not agree with them. We should help them understand what the Word says, but to be careful not to condemn them regarding differences. On the contrary, our focus verse says we are help them in their weaknesses, and not just focus on our own ways. I have seen too many incidents where Christians who are new to the faith have been countered strongly in their beliefs, to the point where they felt ridiculed. And many times they were not necessarily wrong, they just did not agree with what the other was saying.
Paul is stating here that we are to exhort our brothers and sisters in Christ. “Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.” Romans 15:2. Especially those who are new to the faith, or not as trained in the ways of God. Yes, we are to show them where changes need to be made and not leave them in their errors. However, it is to be done with kindness and love. And we should not do these things to gratify what we desire. We must work for the benefit and happiness of others. Paul in his letter to the Church in Philippi put it this way. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4. We are not only to labor for our benefit alone but also, and I would say especially, for the benefit of others. Our job is to exhort each other in the faith, looking at how we can help others in their walk in a loving way, and to encourage them in times of trials and troubles.
At the end of this section Paul tells us, “Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.” Romans 15:7. We are to accept our brothers and sisters just as Christ accepted us regardless of who and what we were. And not only accept them, but love them, helping them in their weaknesses by strengthening them in their faith. We are to lift them up when they are down and help them learn of this Christian walk where they may lack understanding. And in all things in love and patience. Is it wrong for us to please ourselves? Not really. But it was not the way of Christ. And if we are to be like Christ, then we must look to the betterment of others before ourselves. It is what He did for us on the cross.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.