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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Learning to Decide What’s Best, Not Just What’s Good

In review of 1 Corinthians 10:23, it reminds me that "I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive” (1 Corinthians 10:23 NIV).

Today’s verse is 1 Corinthians 10:23. In it Paul explains that everything is permitted, but everything isn’t beneficial. Everything is permitted, but everything doesn’t build others up.

It can be hard to know when to defer. Paul gives me a simple rule of thumb to help in making the decision: I should be sensitive and gracious. The goal is not a general hypersensitivity that worries about what others might possibly think, rather, it is a genuine awareness of others and a willingness to limit what I do when there is a real possibility of misunderstanding and offense. Some actions may not be wrong, but they may not be in the best interest of others. I have freedom in Christ, but I shouldn't exercise my freedom at the cost of hurting others. I am not to consider only myself; I must also consider the needs and perspectives of others.

Some things are not necessarily wrong; they’re just not necessary. Most choices I make in life are not really a matter between good and bad. They’re more a matter of what’s best for me and others.

Some things are morally neutral. So to make a good decision, I need to go to a higher standard and ask, “Will I become a better person because of what I’m about to do?” It’s called the improvement test.

When it comes to time and my choices, am I more interested in fictional people on TV than I am  in Paul and Peter and the disciples and what God wants to do in my life? Do I invest my time in the shallow lives of people who fill celebrity magazines? Are you glued to TV episodes from the moment I get home on Friday until Monday morning?

Are these things evil? No. Are they bad? No. But the question is not, “Is there anything wrong with it?” The question is, “Will it make me more like Jesus?”

Bottom Line:
While everything is permitted it isn't always beneficial or constructive.

What this means to me:
While things are permitted, they aren't always beneficial, constructive or helpful for building others up.

In summary, while there are a lot of things that are permitted, the question is are they beneficial or build others up? In making the decision I need to be sensitive and gracious. It should be made with a genuine awareness of others and a willingness to limit what I do when there is a real possibility of misunderstanding and offense. Most choices are not really a matter between good and bad. They are a matter of what's best for me and others.

Father, this morning I ask and pray that you help me be conscience of my choices and whether they are beneficial or helping to build up others. I also ask you for your wisdom and guidance in my work, choices, leadership and interactions with others. This I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen.

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