I’m sure you can finish this sentence, just because you can……doesn’t mean that you should. That statement is applicable in a lot of situations in life. Have you ever considered why that statement is so applicable? I would say the greatest reason it is applicable is because we as humans lack self-control. We clearly see that in toddlers and children, but unfortunately, as adults we don’t always out grow it ourselves. This is on display in the church in Corinth. This is why Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:12, “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.”
Through Christ, we are not under the Law. He is the fulfillment of the Law (Mt. 5:17). However, we must be very careful not to use our freedom to do whatever we want. Christ didn’t die so that we could live however we want to live. He died so that we could have life, and that we would live for Him. Some of the Corinthians had money, and so they could afford to do whatever they wanted. As you will read later in the book of 1 Corinthians, they were using their money, not to help their fellow brothers and sisters, but for their own gain. It was all about making their life easier. It was creating a “us vs. them” mentality in the church, and that is never a good thing. We must also understand, that when we start to do something, it may initially bring us happiness, but if we aren’t careful it can become a habit that is destructive. Is it ok to eat a Krispy Kreme doughnut, or whatever brand you like? Absolutely it is. However, it is not good to eat a half dozen or a dozen in the course of a day or two. Lay’s potato chips created the slogan exploiting our lack of self-control. Their slogan, “Bet you can’t eat just one.” Paul knew our lack of self-control, which is why he says that he would not “be brought under the power of any.” Not only can we have self-control issues, but if we aren’t careful we can use our freedom in Christ to put a stumbling block in front of our brothers and sisters. Is it biblically permissible to eat a bacon cheeseburger? Yes it is, because God has given all food to us to enjoy as a gift from Him. However, if you were to invite a brother or sister in Christ over to your house, and you knew they were a vegetarian, would you make bacon cheeseburgers for that meal? Of course not! Why? Because you don’t want to offend your brother or sister in Christ. You recognize that each of you have a relationship with Jesus, and that is more important than eating what you want. It is a way to show others-centeredness. How can we live this verse out?
The place that we must start is with prayer. We must pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help us grow in self-control. We pray, because self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23). We need to recognize our own weaknesses. The other way that we apply 1 Corinthians 6:12 is to focus on loving God and loving others. Paul writes in other places that we are to hold our brothers and sisters in higher regards than we hold ourselves. We are to think of them more than we think of ourselves (see Phil. 2:2-4). Another way to think of self-control is dying to our self, which Jesus said is necessary if we are going to be one of His disciples (Luke 9:23). Praying for and using self-control and being others focused are practical ways that we can live the Gospel out in front of a watching world.
By His grace and for His glory,