Romans 14:18-19

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
There is a stream in Alaska which did not exist a week ago. I just returned from a weeklong visit to Alaska with my son. We were there to visit my brother and his family. While we were there, we engaged in quite a bit of outdoor activity. One day as we were hiking, we came upon a small stream in the wilderness. On a whim I suggested that we try to divert the stream and make it go another way. My son and I and my brother's family of six spent well over an hour digging a new stream bed and damming the original creek. It took a ton of work, but we finally got it to split and flow another way. [Weirdly, one of the most randomly fun things I have done in years]

The way that the stream had been flowing was the easiest route for the water (water is lazy--it will find the easiest path). We had to do a good bit of concentrated, purposeful work to change it. We are like water in that naturally we will take the easiest route in life, and the easiest route is to worry only about ourselves. How does this benefit me? What do I want? What can I get?
As believers we are supposed to make purposeful, focused decisions to help others. We are supposed to go out of our way to build each other up. We are supposed to do this with our words (Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.), and with our decisions. The last few verses said that we should forfeit our own rights and freedoms if it will help others, and this passage says that selfless choices are a way to serve God and be accepted by Him.
Romans 14:18-19 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

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