The Word for today:
Are you a strong Christian or a weak Christian?
When we think of a strong Christian, we often have in mind a person who doesn’t smoke cigars, never has a glass of wine, and would never miss church to see a football game.
But — this may startle you — the Bible calls that Christian “weak” because he is bound by legalism.
A “strong” Christian, according to Romans chapters 14-15, is a person who isn’t so fussily focused on “rules.” He is able to enjoy the liberty from “law” that Jesus purchased at the cross.
So does that mean we should skip church, tap the keg, and tailgate our brains out in order to proclaim our Christian liberty? It certainly does not!
I know a man who was hung over every day for an entire decade.
When he came to faith in Christ, he vowed never to get drunk again because he thought that would make him more acceptable to God.
Which made him, according to the Apostle Paul, a weak Christian–who was acting on this principle:
If I get my act together, God will love me.
He was basing his relationship with God on his own right-ness. His faith was too weak to rely totally on what Jesus had already accomplished for him.
That same man, over time, grew to be a “strong” Christian, by replacing rules with reliance; by replacing legalism with liberty.
He’s sober still–but without that ceaseless sense of struggle–as he lives according to this principle:
Because God loves me, I got my act together.
That man, of course, is me. My weak faith became strong faith when I replaced ‘if’ with ‘because’. If I can do it, anybody can.