If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. (Rom. 14:7)

THREE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW about me: I am a chronic people-pleaser. I have an abnormally active superego. I am the daughter of two people-pleasing parents with hyperactive superegos. So naturally, relentless spirits of criticism and self-reprobation barrage me on a daily basis.

Only once have I felt fully free of them, the first time I attended a university prayer group. Initially, I was paralyzed by fear. But once I began to pray aloud, I realized that, far from appraising me, people were agreeing with me in prayer. It was then that it really hit me. “In this moment, we are all focused on God, on His worthiness and mercy and compassion and infinitude. No one cares what I say or how I say it, only who I am saying it to. And there’s no room for anything else.”

This is the dynamic Paul tried to convey to the Roman church. Whether one eats meat and observes the festivals or abstains from doing so, he or she does so to honor the Lord. That is the mutual intention, and if it were made the mutual focus, our differences would fall away naturally. It is not our place to evaluate another’s lifestyle and worship. What’s more, if we prioritize His honor and glory, there’s no room for anything else.

At church this week, focus your full attention on Jesus.

Ruthie Marie Anderson is a junior majoring in biblical and theological studies at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. She enjoys doing yoga, reading science fiction, and making homemade bread while watching Downton Abbey.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.