Self Restraint

Today we spent the day around our resort. We played miniature golf and hit the swimming pool. There are a lot of activities here, so we will focus on doing things close by opposed to hitting all of the attractions. This actually gives me time to write and take care of some other business during this week.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “I am allowed to do all things,” but not all things are good for me to do. “I am allowed to do all things,” but I will not let anything make me its slave.  I Corinthians 6:12 NCV

We live in a day when individuals are concerned and fight for “personal” rights. We live in a day when people live by the guideline, “as long as it makes me happy” it is okay. In Paul’s day, believers were coming to grasp with the transition from “the Law” to “grace.” This brought some challenges about choices and activities and how to discriminate not so much from “black” and “white” but the “gray” areas of life.

I am reminded of Jesus words when He said, “…wisdom is proved to be right by what she does.” (Matt. 11:19 NCV) If our desire is to please the Lord and to live a life of wisdom, we see personal responsibility for our own actions is important. What we do has an impact on us and also an impact on others.

Many believers in Paul’s day, were taking a cavalier approach to life and personal conduct. They defended their actions by claiming [in Christ] “all things are lawful” (NIV) or “I am allowed to do all things.” (NCV)

However, Paul reminds them of two important considerations that were to serve as a guide for them in living their freedom in Christ. “All things may be lawful…” But all things “are not good to do.” The Biblical word is “edify”; it has to do with strength and building up. Paul is challenging believers to consider if their actions, attitudes and deeds, will result in them being built up. Will it strengthen my faith, will it build my trust in the Lord, will it help me show God’s love others? How does this activity impact my joy and peace in life? Some basic questions that are good for us to consider. This is one way we are to “think of ourselves”; not in doing “anything we please” but considering the impact of what we do.

Paul also goes on and says, “All things are lawful…but I will not be brought under the bondage of any [thing].” Paul reminds believers that we can become slaves to that which we surrender our lives to. Our time, attention, money, passions….

The challenge here is not whether “I am enslaved” it is more, “does it have the potential or threat of being enslaving.” We can become overly cynical and view this as relating to any area of life and thereby diminishing the message and the point. What we need to be aware of is the risk that something in our life robs us of time with God, devotion to the Lord or our influence for the Lord.

At issue is that believers in Christ are called to live their lives not in a self-centered fashion that is like the world around them, but to live in a way to encourage fellow believers, to bring out the best in people and to see themselves as representatives of Christ in the world. The Lord has given us His Word and His Spirit to guide us in the path of life we are to walk and the decisions we make.