A mature Christian should be a Spiritual Vegetarian. A vegetarian is: vegetables,
A Spiritual Vegetarian is: a follower of Christ who does not partake in consuming things or doing things that may cause another follower of Christ to stumble, but instead feasts on Love and not their own freedom.
A mature follower of Christ IS a Spiritual Vegetarian, putting others conscience first. A Spiritual Vegetarian takes the low road to serve others.
We find two places in Paul’s letters where he addresses this very issue, placing others before our own freedom in Christ; Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8.
12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. 13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.
14 I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. 15 Andif another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. …
17 For theKingdom of Godis not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.
19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. 20 Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble.
21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.
22 You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right.
23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning. – Rom 14:12-15, 17-23, NLT (emphasis added by author)
In my opinion this is one of the most challenging portions of scripture for a follower of Jesus, especially to those whom have walked with Jesus for more than a couple years. No matter how long you have walked with Jesus, this should be what we strive to do! Live above reproach! Live to Love not ourselves but others! This is a true mark of a mature follower of Jesus.
Paul continues in his letter to the Romans:
1 We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. 2 We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. 3 For even Christ didn’t live to please himself… – Rom 15:1-3 NLT
We are all called to be Spiritual Vegetarians! We are all called to withhold from partaking in things out of love. Only you know exactly what those things are…If you are partaking in something that you KNOW could be a stumbling block to another follower of Christ, we must not partake!
And even if we are unsure, we are called to lay it down in Love for our brothers and sisters.