With freedom comes responsibility. In our current culture we often forget just because we CAN do something does not mean we SHOULD. This is about permissibility vs benefit. Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NLT).
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial.
My entire adult life I’ve struggled with my weight. We each have areas of challenge, and this one is certainly mine. I’ll walk in victory for a season and see dramatic results only to stumble again in the next and have equally stunning setbacks. It’s been an area of much frustration and shame, one I know I’m not alone in.
During this past year, Father put me on a specific fast. Results were obvious and dramatic. Then He released me from the fast, and as has been my pattern, I’ve begun bouncing right back. Today a friend challenged me with some questions that helped me realize I’ve been asking God the wrong questions.
You see, having been up and down this road many times before, I’ve been specific in asking God before eating all kinds of things. I’d ask Him, “God, can I have such-and-such?” To which most often He would say yes. But I was asking the wrong question because since He’d released me from the fast, I CAN have anything I want. The question is what is BEST for me to have. And that my friends is where I have continually stumbled, choosing permissible over beneficial.
In His mercy and under His outpouring of grace, He encourages me to choose better. I’m not under condemnation (consequences, yes, but not condemnation – at least not from Him), He simply wants to see me make wiser choices with the liberty I’ve been given.
In the same way, under grace we’re forgiven our sins, but does that mean we should intentionally pursue sin? Of course not! This is specifically addressed in Romans 6:1-2 (NLT).
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?
I realized that my choice to squander the freedom I’d been given demonstrated an immaturity that isn’t aligned with my walk and who I strive to be. Like a child being given access to a bowl of candy eating until they have a tummy ache rather than simply enjoying a small treat.
I am not a child, nor do I want to live my life as one. I resolve to use my liberty with more wisdom, yet continuing to be grateful for His unfailing grace when I fall short. I pray He gives you the wisdom and strength to do the same.
Father, thank You for Your patience with us when we choose poorly again and again. Thank You that instead of revoking our freedom, You persist in trying to help us learn and grow and choose more wisely. Thank You for good friends who speak Your truth even in moments when it’s challenging. You are such a good God. To You be all the glory and honor.