A Robust Faith
1”We who are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak; [we ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others] and not to please ourselves. 2Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually].” Romans 15:1-2 Amplified Bible
In the previous two chapters, Paul has been telling believers who are strong, and understand the freedom they have in Christ, to do nothing that would cause those who are weaker to stumble. The example he used was those who did not believe they could eat meat offered to idols. The one who was strong in faith knew that it did not matter and could eat the meat. But they should not let their liberty be a stumbling block to others. If it offended someone else, then don’t flaunt their freedom and cause others to stumble because of their weaker faith. Then consider the words he offers in the verses above.
When we are strong in faith, knowing the liberties of the Word, we should not fall into the trap, the temptation of convincing others of the weakness of their faith. Rather, we are called to bear whatever is required to carry them in their faith, where their faith is at. We are to love them and provide an example and make whatever sacrifice is required to carry them in even in their weakness. Rather than pleasing self by demonstrating to others our perceived deeper and more mature faith, we should do what we must to carry them, right where their faith is. Our practice should always be to strive for their advancement and joy in the Lord. If we do this we can lead them to a bigger and deeper understanding of the scriptures.
We should have such a “robust” faith, that we do not need to convince others of the truth that we understand, the revelations that we have. We simply speak the truth and gently guide them in love to greater truth and liberties that are theirs and that they desire in their spirits. Our desire should be to always love and accept all followers of Jesus even if we feel that they are missing some of the freedoms and benefits the Word and His promises provide. We were once where they are. When someone knows they are loved, even though your doctrines may differ, they will naturally follow the love of Christ in us and grow.
Let us have that “robust” faith that knows the wonderful promises and share them without reservation, but never looks down on others because of where we perceive them to be. Let us have that “robust” faith always, so that we can believe the Word and believe the power of the Word to see a breakthrough in our lives and the lives of others. Let us have the kind of “robust” faith that does not need to be right, but is humble and motivated by His love.
J Todd Hostetler