Romans 14:15 (NIV) 15If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.
We’re aware that fellow believers can still be distressed. And the cause of each other’s distress can be each other. To be such a cause equates to being unloving in our actions. The mandate is clear: our freedom in Jesus ought to not cause anyone to be distressed or destroyed. Our souls are way more precious than any food, drink, or anything this world has to offer.
Our Lord Jesus has set us free, and whoever He sets free is truly free. It is for freedom itself that He set us free; that speaks of the great value of freedom. But there’s something of greater worth than that: souls. God loves each of us tremendously, that explains the rationality of our precious Lord Jesus willingly leaving the glories of heaven to seek and to save the lost by sacrificing His life as a ransom payment for us.
We as His children understand His indescribable love—not totally—but enough to know that it’s great beyond measure. Having this set in our hearts and minds, we’re willing to sacrifice our freedom to protect others, especially our spiritual family. Sure, everything is permissible for us, but we understand that not everything is beneficial. Sure, we’re free to do anything, but we’re aware that there are things that can be destructive instead of constructive; there are things that can get us enslaved or addicted, there are things that can cause others to stumble, and there are things that just plainly don’t glorify God. Having the heart of God for His children, we willingly submit our liberty to love if a choice has to be made.
Matthew 1:2525And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.
Joseph wasn’t instructed not to have any sexual relations with Mary after he took her as his wife. He had all the spiritual and legal freedom to “touch” her without violating anything. By his own volition, he did not. His act factored in affirming a major prophecy about a virgin being with child, a prophecy which could be interpreted in many different ways. And it was not an act that he needed to “sacrifice” for a day; he patiently held off for nine months or so.
There’s no indication of any doubt or mistrust left in Joseph. After an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and shared to him very pertinent information regarding the pregnancy and the Child, his conviction was solid. He trusted her, so the reason for him holding off was not in any way negative at all. The Word is silent about it; all we could do is surmise, but whatever his reasons were, it definitely looked more positively and suitably in relation to the prophecy.
True, he didn’t hold off from any sexual relationship with Mary forever. Nine months is a long time, but we know it wasn’t forever. True, Mary had other children; Jesus had brothers and sisters: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him” (Mark 6:3). Clearly, Joseph and Mary engaged in procreative activities after the birth of their first born. Our precious Lord Jesus’ birth alone was of a miraculous kind; the rest of them were natural, biological birth, but God’s Word remained true in all of Joseph’s actions and turn of events.
Our sensitivity to situation and our conscientiousness has a big role in living wisely and more efficiently for God and in His Kingdom. There are good choices and bad choices; we choose the good. There are good choices, better choices, and best choices; we choose the best. We care for the welfare of our King and His Kingdom. Praise God for His Word and Holy Spirit Who guides us in navigating through the often complex twists and turns in our world.