August 20, 2018
“‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say — but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ — but I will not be mastered by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 (NIV)
For the past several weeks I’ve been doing my best to make my phone a tool, rather than a part of my life. This realization came one day as the phone was plugged in a mere 10 feet away, yet I felt tugged several times to pick it up.
Why was I so pulled?
The truth was my phone had been in my hands more often than not for a while.
Sometimes I woke in the night and reached for it, which made going back to sleep that much harder. However, like a courtroom defense attorney, I listed all the reasons why having my phone nearby or in my hand was acceptable. It’s my calendar. It’s how I stay in touch with family and friends. Social media allows me to minister to others.
Even as I listed those bullet points, I felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart. My phone had a greater hold on me than it should.
In today’s key verse, the Apostle Paul is teaching the church about things that can have a hold on us. This is a common theme in Paul’s teaching. He often brought it to a heart-level as believers debated about the right thing to do — whether it was the choices they made with their body, what they ate or drank, or the day they chose to worship.
“‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say — but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ — but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12).
Paul encouraged them to look past the reasons they could or could not do something, asking one question: Is this beneficial?
Another question might be: “Is this God’s best for me?”
As I shared my dilemma with a few friends, several admitted they’d also struggled. One had her phone in her hands when with her children, and she often didn’t hear what they were saying. Another told a story of attending an important event. When she left, she’d missed a lot of it because she was otherwise engaged with social media and texts. One confessed she became anxious if her phone wasn’t in plain sight.
That day we made a pact to make a plan.
My plan was to put it on ring so I could hear if someone called, but otherwise to leave it at a distance. I chose not to use my phone for social media (unless traveling) but to use my computer instead. This made my time on social media much more intentional. I quickly realized that what I called a bad habit was more of an addiction. I itched to have my phone in my hand. I longed to scroll through social media, to read books through my e-reader app, and to check email and news apps and so much more. There were times I picked it up without thinking, and an hour later, I was still online.
Yet I persisted. After two weeks of sticking to my plan, the pull eased. My phone became a really great tool again, rather than a lifeline.
When something — no matter what it is — takes more from us than it gives, we are wise to put it down. We are wise to give it less of us, so we have more to offer those around us.
As we do, we lean into God’s best for us, and that’s a gift.
Father, that thing that has a hold on me, I can make excuses for it. I can even reason it away. Today I put aside my excuses, and I choose Your best for me. Thank You that You lead me toward what’s beneficial and away from those things that potentially have power over my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (NIV)
Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (NIV)
Imagine Jesus walks up to you and invites you to come with Him on an adventure. You don’t know where you’re going or what you’ll be doing, but you know you want to go. Join Suzanne Eller with her devotional, Come With Me, and discover what it means to truly follow Jesus wherever He leads. Get your copy of this timeless devotional today to help you draw closer to Jesus through every step of your journey, free with a gift of your choice. Click here to learn more.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Paul encouraged believers not to be brought under the power of anything other than the power of God’s love. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal if anything has more of you than it should. Make a plan. Invite God into the process.
We’d love to hear from you! Let us know how today’s message impacted you in the comments section.
© 2018 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.
Originally published Monday, 20 August 2018.