Read Romans 14:5-9
5 Or, say, one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.
6-9 What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other. (THE MESSAGE)
When we think of soldiers in an army two contrasting images may come to mind. One is of neatly ordered columns at a parade ground, marching in step with their immaculate uniforms gleaming under the watchful eye of the commanding officer.
The other image is one of dishevelled camouflage-clad individuals engaged in shadowy combat with a hard-to-see enemy. Each man is fighting his own battle even though he is part of a wider organism. His general orders are clear enough, but the way in which those orders are carried out will rely on the wit and wisdom of the individual combatant.
What has this to do with our text? Just this: the Christian ‘army’ is comprised of very different, unique individuals. We do not always march in lock step with one another: we may fight the necessary battles differently. We do not dissolve our distinctive personalities and passions into some anonymous whole. We belong to a wider cause and community but we think and act and speak differently. We handle our life situations differently.
Unity is not uniformity. Allegiance to Jesus finds various expressions. Conformity to Jesus does not mean conformity to one another. We do not always march in step with one another even though we are on the same side and seeking the same ultimate goal. Life is too complicated to be a parade ground.