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Summary: If we are living our lives to ourselves, we will be the grinch, or Ebenezer Scrooge. Our insides will be so messed up that we’ll soon be living a life of fear and paranoia, feeling that everyone is out to get us.

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Title: Hollow and Empty

Scripture: Romans 14:7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

I once received a bag of peanuts from someone as a gift. The peanuts still had the shells on them, so I tried to show my appreciation for the small gift, as it was given out of kindness.

Now, you have to understand something, I’m not the kind of person that likes to work when I eat. Meaning, when I am eating, I want to eat. I don’t particularly like to ‘crack open’ lobster, or dig out clams, or de-vein and shell shrimp, or peel oranges, or crack peanuts.

But, I still received the gift of the peanuts still wrapped in their shells with a smile and when I got home I decided to try one. Well, I picked one up. I chose one that looked like it might have as many as three peanuts in it! I briefly looked at the outside, then cracked it open. To my surprise there were three peanuts in there, but all three had stopped growing and were only the size of a sesame seed! The shell was basically hollow and empty. The outside was fully developed but the inside was still in the infant stage!

Going through life, for many people, is like that. We grow on the outside, but the inside has yet to catch up. I’m sure that if we went around and “cracked” some people open, we’d find spiritual development that is smaller than a mustard seed.

Being afraid of being alone is another thing that takes some development. Loneliness is one thing that for many people is just something that is, well, it is difficult to endure.

A man goes on a business trip for a month. The trip is intended to allow his family to get some extra money because of the company’s policy on paying out travel expenses. The company rewards travel, and it pays lots of money to those that volunteer. However, 15 days into the month, the man gets lonely. He starts calling his wife everyday and sometimes two or three times a day. The telephone bill begins to eat away at the profits that the man would have made simply because he is alone.

It’s difficult to be alone. It’s difficult to go two or three days, or four or five days, without any human interaction. That is our physical self talking to us. Within each one of us there is an innate, or inborn desire to be around other people. Some have a stronger desire than others, while there are some that may be able to escape from any form of interaction or communication with others. Again, these things that I have talked about are all mental and physical, or body and mind. And, if we let them, our body and mind can shape our spiritual concepts and actions. But, the reverse is applicable as well. The spiritual can shape the body and mind.

In our verses today, Paul is talking about how we can allow God to shape our spiritual self that will then allow Him to mold and shape our whole being. Paul is telling us how to handle our spiritual relationship and appreciate (not depreciate) the spiritual relationship that others have with God.

These verses tell us that what we do is in fact a projection of our mind, body, and spirit, our entire selves, toward God, while at the same time appreciating those around us and understanding their walk with God as just that…their walk with God.

Paul understands that everyone is different. He knows that there are varying levels of faith, love, temperance, devotion, commitment, etc.

Take a look at the first six verses of Romans, Chapter 14:

14:1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

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