Do you know that look that kids can give you? You know the look a child gives with raised eyebrows and a slight-sort-of-but-not-really smile that asks, “Can I be doing this and if not, can I get away with it anyway?” Or the look that questions, “how far is too far?” As a Children’s Ministry Director for 10+ years and an active Auntie, I have seen “the look.” Children push the boundaries day in and day out, especially as they are trying to declare their independence. However, I have also seen this look in many adults as well who are asking themselves “What can I get away with and still call myself a Christian?”
On a daily basis, we are faced with thousands of choices and most of the choices we make in life are not really a matter between good and bad, but rather it’s about looking at what’s best for you and/or what will be most beneficial to others.
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”.
1 Corinthians 10:23
God doesn’t give us a nice little list of rules to tell us what all the answers to every situation should be and where all the boundaries are, rather He wants us to look at how our decisions and our habits are helping us to grow in our walk with Him and helping us become a better person.
At the beginning of the pandemic, my job shifted like a lot of other people to working from home. The restaurants were closed, so I began the routine of making my own lunches. I would whip something up and sit down at my kitchen island, which has a straight view of the TV in my living room.
One day, I found myself turning on the TV to watch an episode of a show like Virgin River or Sweet Magnolias on Netflix before I went back to my workday. Well, as most people who have watched shows on Netflix know, once that episode is done it quickly transitions into the next episode. Pretty soon I was watching two episodes. Then I caught myself trying to multitask and do my work with the TV on in the background so I could “watch” some more episodes because I was beginning to be connected to the lives of these characters. Then one day it dawned on me (pun intended): “This does not make me a better person or coworker. It has no redeeming value and it is keeping me from doing things that could add value to my life or other people’s lives.”
It wasn’t that this behavior was necessarily evil or even bad, but the question is not “is there anything wrong with it?” or “how many episodes are too many?” The question is: “is this helping me or hindering me?” and “will this help me become more like Jesus?” God has given us freedom and free will but it is our choice how we use this gift. We have the freedom to choose how we invest our time, who we hang around, what we eat, what we do, etc., but not everything we may choose is beneficial for us. We can say whatever we want to our frustrating neighbor, but is what we are saying beneficial? Does it lead that person closer or further from God?
God has the ultimate perspective of where our free will can take us–good or bad. His character is to lead us toward the very best He has for us. Like a father who keeps his toddler from having cake for breakfast or from running out in the road. He loves us and has only our best interest at heart.
So dear friend, I would challenge you to take some time to spend with God in prayer and ask Him to reveal to you anything you do or habits you have that may not be God’s best for you. As He reveals those things to you, ask Him to show you what you can replace those things with that will help you grow as a Christ follower. As you begin to choose God’s best for you, your actions and habits will impact other people to grow in their relationship with Jesus as well! Let’s be intentional in seeking God’s best life for us and experience the true freedom we have in Christ.