“It is the decision of the Holy Spirit, and ours too, not to lay on you any burden beyond that which is strictly necessary.” —Acts 15:28

The elders of the church of Jerusalem and the Holy Spirit decided Gentile Christians did not need to be circumcised, but rather had to change their lifestyle, “namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from illicit sexual union” (Acts 15:29). Meat sacrificed to idols was a major item in the marketplace. Therefore, to abstain from this was, in part, an economic decision. The Gentiles were also told to change their eating habits and their attitude toward sexual relations. In other words, the Gentiles were required to make lifestyle changes in the areas of money, food, and sex. This is comparable to telling a modern person, even a Christian, to stop buying certain foods, to quit eating meat or drinking caffeine, and to quit watching prime time TV with its pornographic innuendoes.

When the letter containing these rules was read, “there was great delight at the encouragement it gave” (Acts 15:31). If a similar letter requiring lifestyle changes was read at your church, would the people be delighted or defiant? Lifestyle is the false god of the modern American church. Our comforts, pleasure, and entertainment mean more to us than loving God. That’s where our time and money goes, and God gets the leftovers, if there are any. Repent!

PRAYER: Risen Jesus, may I repent of living for selfish pleasure.
PROMISE: “This is My commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” –Jn 15:12
PRAISE: St. Isidore was canonized in 1622. He’s in good company: St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Philip Neri were declared saints at the same time.

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