“Everything is permissible” — but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible” — but not everything is constructive. (1 Corinthians 10:23)
Television is full of alluring commercials! Whether they are about food we eat or possessions we use, basic necessities or luxury items, commercials target people of different genders and age groups. They are so appealing that after watching, we just feel like we have to have whatever is being advertised.
The Internet is fascinating and has so much to offer! One can spend hours and hours in front of the screen searching for information about anything: education, technology, health, shopping or social connections.
Every day we are bombarded with all these temptations and there are so many choices to make: to watch, to buy, or to do it or not. What guiding principles can help us make these decisions?
In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul does not give us a bunch of rules to follow, but instead lays out a simple reminder: whether something is beneficial and constructive should be the focus of our actions. Put another way: Does the action benefit you and others, or is it beneficial to only you but not others?
To apply this principle to our daily lives, we have to learn to evaluate the motivations behind, and consequences of, our actions. When we buy something, does it serve a practical purpose or merely raise our status and allow us to show off? Have we subconsciously overestimated the value of certain thoughts or behaviors such that that we ignore others’ feelings or fail to consider whether others stand to benefit from them? There are times when we think that we can take full responsibility for the consequences of a decision. However, have we considered that those consequences might spill over and affect our families?
There are so many temptations in this dazzling world. Whether you do so first thing in the morning or before making a decision, will you pause, go to God, and ask for wisdom about your choices so that they will be beneficial and constructive?
Reflection and Application
- What kind of temptations do you encounter currently?
- How can Paul’s words from 1 Corinthians 10:23 help you overcome temptation?
Written by Dian Choi. Artwork by Carol Li