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Briefing: Be careful how you act because you are an example to others. This not only applies to us while in uniform but as Christians as well.

Dispatch (Assignment): Read Romans 14:13-21.

On the Street: This book of Romans is a book of progression. As we grow in our walk with Christ and gain more maturity in our spiritual life, the lessons Paul teaches progress as well. This section speaks to the more mature Christian and their responsibility towards younger Christians.

Paul uses the example of food as a stumbling block but we will use the example of alcohol. In these examples we are going to assume the Christian who drinks is of age and obeys the laws. They drink in moderation and do not drive under the influence. They are at a point in their faith where drinking alcohol, in moderation, is not an issue. Verses 13-21 give a great explanation of how the Christian can exercise this freedom.

If you are drinking and you are with a new believer who does not understand this freedom you could possibly do damage to their faith. If the new believer thinks drinking alcohol is wrong, don’t argue about it or selfishly do it anyway. This would be wrong and what Paul refers to as being a stumbling block. It is not about the alcohol, it is about loving the new believer and respecting each other. Don’t do something that is going to confuse them or make them question their own beliefs. Having a beer at the risk of someone who might be watching you is not worth making that person stumble. Verse 17 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Don’t miss the point of what Paul is saying. It is not about alcohol, what kind of music you listen to or any other activity. What matters is the example you set and your living testimony; alcohol is just an easy example.

You would not drink alcohol around your children, so why would you drink alcohol around a newly born Christian (born of Christ as in John 3)? Would you offer alcohol to a person who might be coming out of a situation where alcohol consumption might have been a sin issue? Why would you tempt them with doing something that could lead them to going back into that lifestyle? Verse 19 Paul says, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Mutual edification is the key. It is not so much compromising as it is doing what is best for the other person.

We have to be aware of our actions when we participate in activities that could be seen by other Christians as questionable. If it could possibly do damage to them, then don’t do it. If we have to give up drinking beer in public then so be it. Paul says in verse 21, “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food.” If the alcohol is more important to us, then we have a big spiritual problem and we are the one who needs help.

Investigational Resources: Proverbs 29:11, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8.

Officer Safety Principle: Be conscious of the example you set. Get in the practice of living a life of righteousness to the point it becomes habit.

from The Book of Romans Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!