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Photo by Manan Chhabra on Unsplash

Dear Members of Christ,

Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. God has laid before us a smorgasbord of gifts. But some of these things can move from being “good gifts” to “enslaving substances” if we’re not careful. Dr. Joseph Gerstein, a specialist in addiction recovery says, “When people cling to activities despite negative effects, it indicates addictive behavior.” It doesn’t matter if it’s food, drinks, or activities – most anything can become an unhealthy addiction which adversely affects relationships and our ability to carry out the life God has called us into.

The Corinthians were diverse people who became believers in Jesus and God’s promise of forgiveness. Unfortunately, they lived in a decadent society committed to idol worship, rampant sexual promiscuity, temple prostitution, and gluttonous eating and drinking festivals. While food, drink and, within the bonds of marriage, sexual activity are gifts from God, they became abused addictions. Paul warns, “All things are lawful … but not all things are helpful … I will not be enslaved by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12) Paul then reminds the Corinthians that food and drink isn’t for sacrificing to idols or abusing in raucous debauchery. And sex is limited to husbands and wives who are married to each other.

These reminders are also for us. Too often, just because we can eat or drink whatever we want, watch shows with explicit language and sexual activity, or live with members of the opposite sex outside marriage without social stigma – that doesn’t necessarily make these things right in God’s eyes. Joined to Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells within us (1 Corinthians 6:15-19). So, when we abuse God’s gifts, causing negative effects in our relationships with others and God, we’re guilty of falling into sin. Let’s remember, “(We) are not (our) own, for (we) were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) And when we do abuse God’s gifts, let’s also remember God’s promise to forgive us as we turn away from them, confess our sins, and ask Him to help us use them properly.

                                                                                        In Christ’s Love,

                                                                                        Pastor Jim