1 Corinthians 6:12 (ESV)
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.
Sometimes we wish that God would have given us a list of things that are permissible and things that are not so that we would have no doubts. If we had a nice little IPod app that would allow us to look up our exact circumstances and situation so that we knew what was OK with God, we think our lives would be easier. Maybe that would have made life easier; maybe not. Either way, God did not give us an encyclopedia of situations with laws for every possible permutation. Instead, God gave us his holy word, and that is sufficient for everything we need.
Think, for example, about the text above. While it does not necessarily give us specifics on every situation in life, the verse above is extremely helpful in knowing what is acceptable for us as Christians. IN fact, the verse above leaves the door open for something to be OK for one Christian while not being OK for another. The rule is, do not be enslaved by anything.
Let’s avoid, at this point, the discussion of substances that are potentially physically addictive. That opens up a can of worms that we need not address to gain glorious truth from the verse above. Instead, let’s simply apply one standard of measure for life. Something is bad for you, enslaving to you, if one of the two following statements is true of you:
· Are you willing to sin to get what you want?
· Are you going to sin if you do not get what you want?
If either of the above is true, the item in question, whatever it may be , is a sinful thing for you.
Now, take those points, and apply them in areas other than smoking, drinking, or whatever we like to immediately put on the “bad” list. A young couple could be sinfully enslaved to the desire to have a child. That desire could actually become a sinful idol, an obsession that the couple is willing to sin to achieve. It is possible that the couple might even try giving God an ultimatum, saying they will only continue to follow him if he grants this one request. Either way, the couple has been enslaved by a desire for something that is generally good, but which in their case has become a trap for them.
Try another situation. Pastors want their churches to grow. We want numbers of people. We want to see people saved. We want to raise funds to send money to missions. We want to be influencing on our communities. Are we willing to sin to achieve this end? O I hope not. Are we going to sin if our desires are not met? Again, I hope not. Yet many in the clergy are willing to compromise to get numbers and are willing to comfort themselves with inappropriate things if their desires are not met.
We should be able to take the two points above along with 1 Corinthians 6:12 to examine just about anything in our lives. It might be lawful, but it might not be profitable. IT might be OK for some, but not for you. It might be that you need to ask God to temper your desires, as your want for something good could easily turn into a God-dishonoring lust. Make sure that God and his glory is your number one priority. Set your mind and heart on him, and be sure that nothing on earth, not even a good thing, enslaves you.