|Posted on October 7, 2014 at 5:45 PM|
... Doesn't mean we should.
So, last night a few floor-mates and I were spending some time together in one of their rooms. We were just talking with each other about random things, learning the little things about each other and listening to old blues music. It was a lot of fun and during this time we were all snacking on something. I was eating away at my Tostitos while they were eating Oreos (I don’t like them, yes I know that’s uncommon) and I was literally on my way to finishing the huge back of chips within another 10 minutes or so.
The gluttony was about to be so real, guys.
And so, being me, I start think aloud (basically talking to myself) and force myself to have one last handful and then I promptly folded the bag and moved it away from me (this is where you applaud me for my exemplary self-control). And then the guy whose room we were in was like, “Why don’t you eat more? You’re skinny! A few chips are not going to change that.”
And he wasn’t incorrect, I’ve had a fantastic metabolism since I was a little girl and I thank God for it but did that mean that I should just go ahead and finish the bag? Or that anytime I eat I should go crazy because it won’t affect my weight?
The answer to those questions is NO. Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.
And as I was thinking of that those words and what they meant, I realised how they related to our relationship with God. We are given an infinite amount of choices to make in a day, and our choices reflect upon God. How we choose to speak, behave, dress and more all get connected back to Him; either positively or negatively.
What we choose to do shows the world who we really belong to; who we’re really slaves to.
For example, if someone is gossiping or speaking negatively about another. Do we laugh and join? Do we just stand there and smile while nodding our heads? Or, do we try to say something positive about the person instead? Because just because we can do the first one or the second one, doesn’t mean that we should.
Is it a good idea for an unmarried female Christian to be in bed with a guy her age and under the covers with him in his residence room?
But, they’re not doing anything at all. They aren’t even touching each other. She was just too lazy to get up.
Even though there are a bunch of other people in the room keeping them accountable and everyone in the room knows that nothing sexual is happening – or will ever happen – between the two?
Why is it not a good idea? Why should that not have been done? It doesn’t reflect upon God well when she’s told them that she’s a Christian. Willingly placing herself in an environment meant for physical intimacy is not wise when she’s representing Christ.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Let’s look at an example of someone who could and did: Moses.
Yes, Moses. The one who God used to lead His people out of the bondage of Egypt. The man that God worked through to part the red sea; that Moses. Let’s fast forward to when the Israelites were out of Egypt, in the wilderness and being grumpy.
Numbers 20:2-12 NLT
2 There was no water for the people to drink at that place, so they rebelled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The people blamed Moses and said, “If only we had died in the Lord’s presence with our brothers! 4 Why have you brought the congregation of the Lord’s people into this wilderness to die, along with all our livestock? 5 Why did you make us leave Egypt and bring us here to this terrible place? This land has no grain, no figs, no grapes, no pomegranates, and no water to drink!”
6 Moses and Aaron turned away from the people and went to the entrance of the Tabernacle, [b] where they fell face down on the ground. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to them, 7 and the Lord said to Moses, 8 “You and Aaron must take the staff and assemble the entire community. As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water. You will provide enough water from the rock to satisfy the whole community and their livestock.”
9 So Moses did as he was told. He took the staff from the place where it was kept before the Lord. 10 Then he and Aaron summoned the people to come and gather at the rock. “Listen, you rebels!” he shouted. “Must we bring you water from this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their livestock drank their fill.
12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!”
AHA! Did y’all catch that? He wasn’t obedient. God said to speak to the rock and Moses hit it.
Just because Moses could do get water by hitting the rock didn’t mean that he was supposed to do so – but he did.
And did you see what happened because of that? Moses didn’t make it to the Promise Land; he gets a vision of it before he dies, but he never goes there himself.
Now, let’s look at someone who, but didn’t: Daniel. Yes, Daniel and the Lion’s den Daniel though that’s not the story that I really want to bring to attention right now (though it does apply). I’m thinking of what happened before that.
Daniel 1:3-17 NLT
3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. 4 “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon. [c]” 5 The king assigned them a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service.
6 Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah. 7 The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names:
Daniel was called Belteshazzar.
Hananiah was called Shadrach.
Mishael was called Meshach.
Azariah was called Abednego.
8 But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. 9 Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. 10 But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.”
11 Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 12 “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. 13 “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” 14 The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days.
15 At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. 16 So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others.
17 God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.
Alrighty, I know that that was a bit of a read but there’s so much meat in this – even though Daniel, Mishael, Hananiah, and Azariah only had vegetables and water.
Daniel was given a situation and he could do one of two things; he could accept the food that the King as offering or he could be bold and request something else. He could’ve chosen to eat the King’s food, guys. He could’ve enjoyed the equivalent to our favourite order from McDonalds, Five Guys, the Works, etc. for 10 days straight. But he chose not to. He decided that he wasn’t going to defile himself. He wasn’t going to make himself impure.
He not only understood the fact that just because he could, he shouldn’t; he went beyond that and saw the ramifications of what would happen if he did.
And he was blessed for that. God honoured Daniel (and his three friends) and made them healthier than all the other men. God gave them more knowledge and understanding than the others. And specifically gifted Daniel with dream and vision interpretation.
Let’s go back to that Christian university student. What’s the biggest difference between her and Daniel? Daniel was wise, she acted foolishly in the moment.
When I was around 13 years old, my youth pastor defined wisdom (I’m paraphrasing a bit) as this: the proper/correct application of knowledge. Knowledge is a wealth of information but wisdom is how you apply that knowledge to everyday life and use it to make good choices. Here are some verses that give a great picture of the importance of wisdom:
Proverbs 4:3-9 The Message (MSG)
3-9 When I was a boy at my father’s knee, the pride and joy of my mother,
He would sit me down and drill me: “Take this to heart. Do what I tell you—live!
Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding! Don’t forget one word! Don’t deviate an inch!
Never walk away from Wisdom—she guards your life; love her—she keeps her eye on you.
Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom! Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding!
Throw your arms around her—believe me, you won’t regret it; never let her go—she’ll make your life glorious.
She’ll garland your life with grace, she’ll festoon your days with beauty.”
Proverbs 3:13 New International Version (NIV)
13 Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,
Psalm 37:30 New International Version (NIV)
30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just.
Wisdom is necessary in our Christian, it helps us to take the information that we have and make the choices that will honour God. But how do we obtain wisdom?
James 1:5 New Living Translation (NLT)
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
It’s as simple as asking, our Father will give it to us.
Through the Holy Spirit, we are given advice all throughout the day pertaining to the wise choices that we should be making. It’s on us, however, to listen heed the advice.
That young Christian woman? She asked for the advice, she received it but she didn’t adhere to what the Holy Spirit said. This girl? She’s me, literally just last night. And I rationalised it all in my head and I know that I didn’t do anything out-rightly wrong but the conviction ate away at my soul afterwards and the regret was almost palpable. And the repentance has been real, God and I had a long conversation about my actions and I put this out there for y’all to read for the sake of accountability. I messed up, I was given a Holy Spirit out and didn’t take it. And I am once again enamored by the reality and beauty that is His love and grace.
And that’s why I say this so fervently: It’s imperative that we remember that “just because we can, doesn’t mean we should”. Paul even says this in that beautiful book that we just went through; 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 10:23 New Living Translation (NLT)
23 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.
And James goes even farther to say this:
James 4:17 New Living Translation (NLT)
17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
So, let’s pray for each other that we wouldn’t fall into sin. In saying this, I’m not just referring to what is stated in the 10 commandments or the list of “things not to do” in Colossians 3 and Galatians 5.
I wish to include all the “just because we can” choices we make that are also sin.
Repeat after me: Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.
Let’s live that out.
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