“We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help each other do what is right and build them up in the Lord.” – Romans 15:1-2 (NLT)
Flowing straight from his conversation about people’s convictions concerning different foods, Paul then says this. He ends the previous chapter saying, “If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning,” (Romans 14:23c) and he goes right into directing instruction towards those who are stronger in the faith.
And here is where we uncover yet another false ideology that has invaded the church. People have this idea that there are no levels of faith or spirituality in the Lord. We are all on an even playing field. False. There most certainly are different levels to our faith and spiritual walk with the Lord. There are those who are more mature in their walk with the Lord (some would classify this as more spiritual). There are those who have stronger faith in the Lord than others do because the trials of their lives have built up this faith and this trust. Paul talked about this already in this letter (back in Romans 12:3). The ESV describes it as the “measure of faith that God has assigned.” Each of us has been assigned a measure of faith. And that measure of faith continues to increase as we walk with and trust more deeply in the Lord.
If we deny the reality that there are different levels of our spirituality in the Lord, then we deny the differing levels of maturity in the Lord. They are one in the same. The more mature we are in the Lord, the more in tune we are with Him in spirit. Paul says it like this in his letter to the Corinthian church: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV).
From glory to glory. We are not all on the same level of maturity. If we were, then we would all still be infants in the Lord (though this is not far from the truth in the American church currently).
Now here’s the catch with this reality: Those of us who are more mature in the Lord, we carry more responsibility from the Lord. We are expected to teach and guide those who are weaker in their walk. Those who are mere infants in the Lord. Because we have been good stewards of the measure of faith that God gave us starting out, He gives us more responsibility the more we prove to be responsible with what we have. As the Scriptures says, “When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required” (Luke 12:48 NLT).
This is why Paul tells us not to become arrogant or prideful. The deeper we go in the Lord, the more service He requires from us. We each have been given a purpose and a function in His Body. And as we build the muscle through training and the working out of our faith, the more requiring the work becomes.
So here is your reflection questions for today: Where is your faith, and how are you growing in it? Where do you find yourself on the spectrum of maturity? Are you and infant in the Lord, still learning and gathering the basic principles of the faith? Or are you in a place of maturity where you should now be teaching those who are mere infants?