Limits to Liberty

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. —1 Corinthians 6:12

Christians often ask if they can engage in certain activities. What they are really asking is, "How much of the world can I partake in and still be a Christian?"  

Just before writing, "All things are lawful for me," Paul gave a pretty specific (though not exhaustive) list of some things that are indeed unlawful: fornication, idolatry, adultery, homosexuality, theft, covetousness, drunkenness, slander, and extortion (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).  

The moment I come under the influence of something then I am no longer free.

Some would ask, "Is it all right to have a beer with my pizza? As a Christian, can I smoke cigarettes?" Let me ask you—is it possible to come under the influence by drinking beer? Can you become addicted to cigarettes? It may not be a heinous sin, it may not send you to hell, but if it can bring you under its power, then you are sacrificing the glorious liberty you have in Christ. The moment you come under its influence then you're enslaved.  

Let's not try to discern if something is right or wrong. As we look at the issues of life, let's ask: Does it impede my walk with the Lord? Would I be apt to find Jesus participating with me? Could it get such a hold on me as to enslave me and rob me of my liberty? Does it build me up in Jesus? Does it make me more like Him?  

Father, show us those things that tear down rather than build up Christ in us. May we truly reflect our Lord Jesus Christ to the world in which we live.  In his name, amen.