Twice in 1 Corinthians, Paul says, “Everything permissible but not everything is beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 10:23, 1 Corinthians 6:12). One is referring to the believer's freedom and one is referring to sexual immorality. However, consider taking this verse into context with dietary choices and lifestyle.
God puts a lot of emphasis on dietary laws in Leviticus 11. In fact, Jewish law was so upheld and respected that the book of Daniel refers to it when Daniel refuses to eat the King's food and maintains his diet of vegetables and water. (Daniel 1). Daniel and his companions could have chosen to eat the rich foods and enjoy the wine from the King's kitchen. However by maintaining their diet of vegetables and water, they also maintained their health. They were healthier than all the other men who consumed the rich foods.
We could apply the same principles today. There were reasons why God put restrictions on what the Israelites could eat and not eat. Pork is not that healthy. Even though lean pork chops are considered ,”the other white meat,” pork is not usually a healthy meat choice. Also, in biblical times, meat preserving techniques were not always reliable. Even though certain meats were allowed, those meats were usually prepared and cooked immediately to avoid spoilage and the spread of disease. Many of these dietary laws were set in place for health reasons. The laws kept the Israelites, for the most part, in good health.
With the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the law set in place was fulfilled. As believer's in Jesus Christ we are allowed to choose to eat whatever we wish. However, we must understand that not everything we choose to eat would be beneficial to our bodies. As believer's in Jesus Christ, we are allowed to choose whatever we want to do in life or not do. However, once again, we need to understand that certain activities or the lack of activity is not beneficial to our existence.
Why does God do all that He does? He loves us. Why does He allow us as believer's in Christ to have the freedom to choose what we will do or what we say or what we eat? He allows us to choose because He loves us and He wants us to choose to love Him. Love cannot be forced it must be chosen.
Everything in life is a matter of choice. Although as believer's in Christ, all things are permissible, not all things are beneficial. However, as believers in Jesus Christ, we should heed the words of Paul in Romans 12:1 (NIV) “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”
Out of love for Christ and love for one another, we should choose to do what is right and pleasing to God. That's something to think about as we go about our daily lives. Should we choose the cheesecake or the fresh strawberries? Should we choose to veg out on the couch and watch TV all day or would it be better to take a walk with the family and spend time reading the Word? Should we spend everything we make on everything we want and have nothing to show for it but material things and debt, or is it better to spend wise, save as much as possible and tithe and give whenever we can.
See, this verse can be applied to almost anything. ” “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive.” 1 Corinthians 10:23b (NIV). It's all a matter of choice.
Joshua 24:15b (NIV), “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
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Amy, this makes so much sense! I try to apply the Lord to every food thing that I shouldn’t be eating (in my case, sweets). I hold the food next to the Lord and ask myself if that food is more important than Him. Obviously the answer is no. Temptation is powerful, but He is in control.
Thank you Kathleen. It’s nice to know my articles are useful. Thank you for reading. Amy