A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

Read Romans 14:13-23.

While we have liberty in Christ, the apostle Paul is quick to add that stronger Christians have a responsibility to ensure their freedom isn’t causing weaker believers to stumble. Paul calls this type of humble and selfless behavior beautiful—the mark of a mature believer.

Christ ransomed us from the bondage of our fleshly nature not so that we could live any way we want, but so that we could make every decision with careful consideration to what brings Christ the most glory. This gives us the ultimate freedom—freedom not to sin. If any of our actions cause someone else to stumble, we don’t do it. That’s serving our brothers and sisters in Christ well. That’s true liberty.

Our goal is to emulate Jesus, the one who unites us. The one who, though fully God, gave up His splendor, glory, and freedom to become a humble servant and do His Father’s will. So, when you are tempted to say, “I am tired of serving my family, my church, my neighbor,” look at Jesus. Focusing on Jesus means you are willing to lay down your life for your friend. It means you’re willing and free to sacrifice your comfort, preferences, and pleasures—because that is what He did for us.

Prayer: Lord, open my eyes by Your Spirit to ways in which I may be causing a fellow believer to stumble. Grant me humility and freedom to sacrifice my preferences to build them up and love them well. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister” (Romans 14:13).

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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