This post is closely related to the last one. In Romans 15 Paul continues to explain how as Christians we sometimes have different views on things. These views could both possibly be right, or else following either of them isn't wrong. For example one Christian might thing drinking alcohol is fine, whereas another Christian might decide not to do it because they aren't sure if it is sinful.
The Christian who knows that it is not sinful to drink alcohol should be ready to give up that right and privilege for the sake of the other christian - to prevent them from being confused and sinning against their conscience by doing something they think is wrong.
But what is the example we should follow for this? As usual - Jesus is the perfect example.
Romans 15:3In every aspect of our lives as Christians, Jesus is our ultimate example. We need to look at his life and live ours in response to it – he was sinless, and that should be our aim. In this specific context we see Jesus' selflessness. He didn't claim his right to reign over the universe. Even though he was God, he...
"For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”
"did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;Jesus alone had the right to not give anything up for us. We used to (and in some ways still do) live in rebellion against him. We sin. But He willingly gave his life for us. he didn't cry out and yell about his rights. He gave them up willingly for us. The co-creator of the universe, the sovereign God over all things was willing to suffer and die for our sakes.
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:6-8).
Jesus suffered far more than we do when we give up things for our fellow Christians.
We should obey God by copying Jesus' example. But at the same time we need to obey God out of love and thankfulness to him, not out of legalism or guilt. We need to obey him because we truly do want to obey him - and that's hard to do, and even harder to keep doing, since we slip into sin so easily.
But regardless of if you're obeying God out of really wanting to please him, or simply because you know it's how he wants you to live (even if right at this moment it's hard to obey him out of love for whatever reason), this is something we need to take on board.
Instead of crying out about our rights and what we deserve, we should look to those around us and see what they need. See what we can do to help them. See what we can give up to help them know Christ better.
We need to copy Jesus' example.
I hope they were some helpful thoughts! Obeying God for the right motives is a complex (and yet very simple) thing, and I've found that it is extremely hard to do it right.