EVERYTHING is permissible, but not everything is beneficial (1 Cor. 10:23). Hands down, this is one of my favorite scriptures because it kills the notion that God or even the Devil “makes” us or “forces” us to do things. We are truly free to do whatever we want, whenever we want with whomever we want, but remember, every action has a result. We are free to be as successful or unsuccessful as we choose to be. We are free to live in peace, have financial stability and experience a life that blesses others. We could also have a vain and fruitless life, filled with stress, uncertainty and mediocrity. What makes the difference?
1 Peter 5:8-9 says that we should live soberly while standing firm in our faith in God so that we are not overtaken by the Enemy. But what does it mean to live soberly? Is this scripture only for those who have issues with drugs or alcohol? Living soberly simply means having self-control or self-discipline. More than any other time in recent history, society seems to be in a perpetual state of self-indulgence, egotism and entitlement. From ads and commercials to movies and music, everything seems to encourage a life lived only for self. However, living a true Christian life calls for us to live selflessly (Prov. 11:25). How can you give of yourself to others and bless others when YOU are the only person on your mind? Christian life is the exact opposite of living like “everyone else.”
“What’s wrong with having sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend (Matt. 15:19), especially if you love each other? Nobody else waits until marriage anymore. There’s nothing wrong with trashing someone on social media (Luke 6:28, Matt. 5:44) or plotting revenge against somebody that did me wrong, right (Rom. 12:19)? And what’s wrong with getting high with friends on the weekend (1 John 2:16, 1 Cor. 15:33)? The government says it’s okay, besides, everyone else is doing it.” Let me ask this: “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you? Why not? Because you know how dangerous it is. So why are so many Christians following in the footsteps of everyone else?
What’s the big deal about living a disciplined life? A lot of what we do day-to-day seems relatively harmless. The truth is that we, as mere human beings, can never fully understand God’s awesomeness and righteousness (Isa. 55:8-9). However, God has HUGE plans for all of us and since Christians are one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17), we have the ability to live a life that is worthy of His will. Our standard is not the world’s ways, but it is Jesus’ way (1 Peter 2:21). What seems “square” and “boring” to society is simply what is necessary to become the people that God has called us to be (Titus 2:12-13). Demonstrating God’s will for your life is your purpose for existing, but it requires disciple and selflessness. 1 Peter 1:13-14 tells us to prepare our minds for action, be self-controlled, set our hope on grace and not conform to the ways of the world. How does this take place from a practical standpoint? Answer: The only way to reach Jesus is through faith. Sin opens the door for Satan to have his way in our lives (Eph. 4:27). Sin also fills us with guilt. Guilt and condemnation kill faith (1 John 3:21-22). Without faith, it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God (Heb. 11:6).
Regardless of the opinions of society and this world, living a clean (sin-free) and sober (self-discipled) life is the only way to experience the life you were meant to have. Will we make mistakes here and there? Of course. Should our mistakes become a lifestyle? Absolutely not! Continue to trust God, allow Him to work through you and get sober!
*Has God called us to be square and boring? Is life in Christ a Snooze Fest? Definitely Not! But that’s for the next blog (Part 2).
Kirby N. McKinney