"Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything. –I Corinthians 6:12
I was listening to the news this morning about some American hikers who were hiking near the border of Iran. They inadvertently crossed the border and were arrested and have been detained for some time. I join with countless people across the country as we pray for their release and safe return home. As I consider this situation, I have to think about the risks involved with such a pursuit. It could be argued that hiking near the Iranian border during such turbulent times as these is extremely dangerous. One could say that doing so is permissible, but not advisable. As you know from recent blog posts that I enjoy hiking, and I am sure those Americans being detained in Iran saw some beautiful country. However, I will stay within a safer region for the time being.
Paul the Apostle applied this thinking to our ongoing behavior as followers of Christ. We are free to engage in all sorts of pursuits, but not everything we would do is beneficial. For example, I do not drink alcohol in any form; that is my personal preference and choice. However, I certainly could if I chose to, right? That would be, as the Scripture says, “permissible.” The question is would it be beneficial? The answer is again taken from the Scripture: No, for it wouldn’t be beneficial. As a pastor, church leader, a spiritual leader in the community, and father, I have to consider the impact of such behavior on my witness for Christ and my reputation in the community. God forbid that I do anything that would tarnish my witness or the example I desire to set for others.
There are a world of behaviors in which I could engage, but I realize that doing so would not be beneficial. These could range in everything from overeating, using profanity, and viewing pornography. However, none of those behaviors would be beneficial, but quite the opposite. The Word of God is clear on that point: “I will not be mastered by anything.” In submission to Christ we not only find spiritual freedom, but we also experience the liberating power over anything that might otherwise have controlled us. Here we see this great principle at work: Christ can release us from the chains that bind us and empower us to walk forward through life with peace, confidence, joy, and spiritual victory.
This divine process begins by trusting the Lord and making godly choices regarding our personal conduct. What are you considering doing today? What have you been doing? It is beneficial? If not, the Lord will let you know, and He will give you power over it.
The troubled soul finds victory in Christ over the chains that bind us. Trust the Lord today and walk in the victory He brings.