This week's Devotional: How to Live by Faith?
How to Live by Faith?
Paul told us that our “spiritual service of worship” consists of presenting our bodies to God: I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. (Romans 12:1)
In other words, to be “spiritual” is to be very practical and down-toearth. It starts with what we do with our bodies. From this starting point, Paul went on to deal with a variety of practical issues related to the Christian life. In chapter fourteen, he dealt with the issue of food. He wrote about two types of believers: “One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only” (Romans 14:2). Paul did not settle this issue by saying that it is absolutely right to eat vegetables and absolutely wrong to eat meat, or vice versa. Rather, he said that anything we can do in faith is right, and anything we cannot do in faith is wrong.
In Romans 1:17, he had stated it in positive terms: “The righteous man shall live by faith.” Here, in Romans 14:23, he stated the same principle in negative terms: “Whatever is not from faith is sin.” The conclusion is the same: Faith is the only basis for righteous living. Let us then accept this challenge of applying our faith to our eating. We are required to “eat from faith.” (See also 1 Corinthians 10:31). This is a rather strange phrase. How can we apply it in a practical way? First of all, we must acknowledge our dependence on God for our food. We receive it as a gift from Him. Second, as a logical consequence, we thank God for our food. Thanking God for our food, in turn, produces a third consequence: it sanctifies our food:
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude [literally, thanksgiving]: for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:4–5)
Even if there were originally impure or harmful ingredients in our food, their effect is nullified by our faith, expressed in our prayers of thanksgiving. Fourth, “eating from faith” has implications that go beyond the supper table. Our food is the source of our natural strength, and God is the source of our food. Therefore, our strength is itself a gift from God. We are not free to use it in selfish or sinful ways, but we are under an obligation to devote it to God’s service and God’s glory. Through faith, even our daily meals take on the nature of a sacrament, of which we partake for God’s glory.
‘Lord Jesus, You have granted me life and strenght for this day. In the hectic of every day life it’s easy to forget Your goodness. Help me to enjoy all You give to me in a way that honors You, including my daily bread for this day.’
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