“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up. No one is to seek his own good, but the good of the other person. I Corinthians 10:23-24
“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” (Peter Marshall) I read this quote after studying my Sunday School lesson for this week, and I found it to be very fitting. With Paul’s teachings to the Corinthians fresh on my mind, I couldn’t help but ponder our ideas of freedom.
In these wonderful United States of America, we are free. We are free to do a lot of things. But as our freedom to do as we please increases, our loving for self rather than God also increases. Take a moment to look at the freedoms that are being proclaimed in our nation. We are free to do drugs if we please…many of the drugs are legal so that isn’t against the law. We are free to buy and drink alcohol, even to the point of intoxication…as long as we aren’t driving, we aren’t breaking any laws. We are free to have sex outside of marriage…even with the same sex…we won’t go to jail for that either. We are free to abort our unwanted children…the laws are stricter and some states no longer permit this…but where there is a will, there is a way. We are even free to decide our gender…we no longer have to identify ourselves by our God given sex organs…we can be who we want to be and not break any laws. Yes, we are free to do as we please, but is it good for us? Is it good for our Christian witness to others? Is it good in the eyes of God?
I’m not a Saint, y’all. I’ll be the first to admit it. So if you think I’m pointing a finger, just remember that there are 4 fingers pointing back at me. I’ve made more mistakes in this life than I would like to admit, but praise God, as I’ve made those mistakes, I’ve learned valuable lessons. Each lesson has brought me closer to my relationship with Christ. Each mistake has caused growth in Christ, and each day I continue to learn that I need Him more and more! And as I grow, I learn that the way I live out life really counts.
Let’s get back to today’s scripture. Paul told the Corinthians that everything is permissible. That was likely a familiar saying of the day. It seems to be just as familiar today. Yes, everything is permissible, BUT everything is not beneficial. AND not everything builds up. We can live our lives as we want and think we aren’t harming anyone. Sadly, we are wrong to make that assumption. The way we choose to live affects many. If we are calling ourselves Christians, then we need to walk like Christ. If our choices and lifestyles cause one person to NOT choose Christ because of our actions, then we have sorely failed. It is unfortunately the actions of many “Christians” that have turned people away from the church and from Christ. We shouldn’t live as a stumbling block, but rather we should be living as a bridge bringing many to Christ.
I’m thankful for the freedom we have. I’m thankful for those who have battled for our freedom. I’m thankful that I wake up each day in a free nation. But most of all, I’m thankful that God sent His Son to die for my sins and your sins so that we might have eternal life. We are free to inherit the kingdom of God! There is no better freedom than that. It’s not a freedom we need to keep to ourselves though. This freedom is available to everyone. Let’s take every opportunity to share this good news with others and be cautious not to live life “as permissible,” but rather live a life of freedom that is beneficial to others and build up others!