What is it about our human nature that leaves us with a tendency to want to always test our boundaries or define our freedom by foolish behavior?
Too often when I’m talking with someone about behavior that is perhaps questionable in it’s benefit, the response is “it’s permissible!” However those same believers who live life from the permissible frequently complain at the lack of ministry or leadership opportunities available to them.
So I ask you… just because something is permissible does that mean one should participate?
Let’s see what the word says about this.
In 1 Corinthians 6:12 (NIV) it says:
“Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me” — but I will not be mastered by anything.
So let’s take coffee. Is it sinful to partake? Not in and of itself in moderation; however, if you are unable to control yourself and find yourself having to have it – if it masters you – in other words if it has control, authority, or predominance over you – it is your master. And none should be our master save Jesus! If it masters you, it is no longer permissible.
Then in 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV) it says:
“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible” — but not everything is constructive.
The word constructive is defined as “helpful toward further development :promoting improvement or advance.” Can you think of activities in your life that are “permissible” but not constructive? I know I can!
Why does all this matter?
Here’s why this matters, as God continues to work through us in ministry and leadership He can only do so by how much we are willing to die to our flesh.
Mark 9:42 says, “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” As leaders or in positions of visibility, more people are watching you and watching your lead. God loves you too much to put you in that position before you are ready.
Think of it like this when we choose to live life for Jesus, we work to move out of sin into the permissible. And as we are sanctified we choose to move more towards the beneficial, because in doing so we become more like Him and because we set a better example for those watching and following our lead.
We should want to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16).
Do I have to give up drinking alcohol? No. But I choose to because I don’t want to lead anyone who struggles with it astray.
Do I have to give up watching television shows that seem funny, but that don’t glorify God? No. But I choose to.
The question becomes where do you really want to live? In the permissible “because you can”? Or do you want to continue to work to become more like Him? Focus on things that matter to Him? And be able to be worked through mightily by Him?
Really that choice is up to you. 🙂