Summer has snuck up on us here in Arkansas. The Sun is coming up earlier and earlier here at 34.46 N. Latitude. When I leave to go to town at 5:30 am, its already getting light and when I come back home at 7 am, the Sun is already above the trees. The Sun being above the trees means something when you live in the flatter parts of the American South, especially in summer. The Sun is a powerful presence here most of the year, but in summer you almost have to cringe in anticipation of it getting higher than the trees. It’s that hot down here. After all we are at the same latitude as Kirkuk, Iraq.
But the strength and power of the Sun is nothing compared to the South’s preachers. They each are sure they are right. And most are sure that all other preachers are wrong and need to be rectified. They are very strong in teaching that man should not be foolish and follow the ways of the world. They often ignore the admonition that “if any of you think you are wise, you should become fools so that you may become wise.” They forget how much they do not know. They are rewarded for seeming to know everything. Who wants a preacher who is unsure of himself? Most of us want a preacher who is sure he knows the truth and isn’t hesitant to tell you the way you should think, act and believe.
Preachers are a lot like politicians. The elect are a lot like the elected. That is, those who are certain of being of the elect usually have strong opinions and are sure they are right. The same goes for the elected. Seldom are people wise enough to vote for someone who is not totally sure he is right in every little detail.
The corollary axiom that preachers and politicians also often miss is that you should let people believe what they believe and know that the resilient will come to know the truth. And the rest will pass away. This can take a while, but it will happen. After all, resilience at its heart is knowing how to act so that you and yours will survive and thrive. The resilient will survive. The truth will out. I hope these ideas are becoming self-evident to you.
In other words, people who live by the Spirit should be sneaky. Or maybe the right word is humble. Some word between sneaky and humble expresses the spirit of Romans 14, I think. The point is that people grow in their faith, but people who are living in the Spirit will be very strong in their beliefs, even though their faith has not matured. So those who follow the Way should not contradict others who also profess to follow the Way. As long as they show the fruits of the Spirit (especially peace and joy), let them believe what they believe for the time being. Knowing that they will come to the truth eventually, or they will just pass away.
 1 Corinthians 3:18.
 Romans 14:1-22.