“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good but the good of his neighbor.” 1 Cor. 10:23–24
Last Christmas my son Dodge got a pocketknife. That’s huge news for a seven-year-old boy. I think it represents the first step into manhood or something like that. When he opened it we had to have some conversation about what to do and what not to do.
The dude had new freedom with his pocketknife. He could go skin a squirrel or widdle a stick or cut some paper or whatever else one does with a pocketknife. But, he also needed to know, just because you can do something like that doesn’t mean it’s the wise thing to do.
That’s kinda like this passage from Paul. You see, sometimes we make following Jesus really complicated. From the outsider’s perspective, it can feel like some sort of weird mystic saying blended with religious tradition. It doesn’t have to be that difficult.
I love this verse because it really simplifies the gospel. Because of Jesus you and I are free. Free from religious traditions and practices, free from shame, free from fear of whether or not you are in good standing with God. Plain and simple you are free.
God has set you free. Literally. Take heart in the reality when you place your faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus you are set free. The question isn’t, “Is _____a sin?” or “Is God mad at me because I______?”
What Paul is pointing us to is this new type of reality. One that says, just because you can do anything, doesn’t mean it’s wise to do that one thing.
Hard pastor shift- we have been given the pocketknife of freedom (sounds very American) (I can hear the cringe from here). The question now is, what are you going to do with it? If you let freedom for freedom’s sake be the ruler of your life…God won’t be mad at you….but chances are you’ll make life really hard on yourself. You’ll make some bad decisions that you regret….maybe even losing a finger or two along the way.
God’s path isn’t about decisions that act as tokens to get into heaven. God is inviting you into a way of life that builds you up, makes you a better parent, spouse, and friend. It’s not about restricting your freedom, it’s about creating space in your life to love like no other. It’s about not expecting perfection from one another, but instead, give out that type of grace you and I have received along the way.