November 6, 2023

In 2023, Peachtree Church is reading through the Gospel of Matthew and Paul’s Epistle to the Romans in conjunction with the sermon series New: Rediscovering the Story and Significance of Jesus. Devotionals are sent by email three days each week. Monday’s email includes additional background, history, and cultural information to help us better understand the texts. On Tuesday and Thursday you will receive a devotional based on one portion of the texts for this week.

Text for this week

Introduction to the Texts

Before reading this, I encourage you to read or listen to all of Romans 14. We will be working with the ESV translation of the text.


Romans 14 is a powerful chapter of scripture. It deals with how believers should interact with one another when their personal convictions differ. Paul dug into how the early church was a melting pot of different cultures and convictions about how to practice religion. People disagreed about ecclesiology (how theology applies to the way the church is structured; Paul said that they needed to be more focused on Christology (the person, nature and role of Christ). In other words, Romans 14 is a call for the early church to make Jesus the main thing.


In Romans 14:10-12, Paul says, “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,


“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”


So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.”


Paul wrote that It was of no consequence whether people prayed exactly the same way or whether they ate certain kinds of food. The issue was that the Roman church was making decisions that gave ecclesiology a Christological significance—that the ways they organized their church and the rules around that order were of the same weight as the person, nature, and role of Jesus. Paul was calling them to realign their thoughts.


When I think about this situation in Romans 14, I can’t help but think about Reverend Bryan Dunagan. I had the privilege of being mentored by him for the past 19 years and received my call to be ordained at his church. For someone who was so talented and incredible, he never stopped making Jesus the main thing. One of the things that I remember most from working with him is that whenever there was disagreement about how the church should function, Bryan always called us back to prayer so that we could decide based on our understanding of and love for Christ. He always kept Jesus as the main thing instead of elevating himself, his convictions, and his preferences as a leader; he understood that Christ was his leader.


Romans 14 is the exact same call—to stop elevating preference or personal conviction and to start elevating Christ, letting Jesus be the true leader in our lives. This week, we will take a look at what we can do to keep Jesus as the main thing in our lives and relationships. In honor of Bryan, I will be sharing a couple of stories from my relationship with him and how he served as such an amazing example for what Romans 14 is calling us to.

For Reflection

Are your convictions about the way things should be more important to you than letting Christ lead?


What would it look like to let Jesus lead you this week? What would you need to surrender?


Jesus, I want you to be the main thing in my life this week. Please meet me where I am and speak to my heart in a new way. I can’t do this without you and I pray that you will give me what I need to put you first. Amen.

Rev. Wes Nichols
Pastor for Belong