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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Don't Blame the Apple

Christians don't drink.
They don't smoke either, or eat too much, or talk too much, or spend too much.
I can find Bible verses to back these up.
And every one of them would bear a degree of truth, but I would be missing the point.

Our God made the world and everything in it.  And He said it was what?
He said it was good.  All of it.
He made wine, and tobacco, and lots of yummy food, and the ability to speak, and wealth.
He did not make a mistake when He did it.
He wants us to find pleasure in what He made.

A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.  This, too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without Him, who can eat or drink or find enjoyment?--Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

But, this is the point that we usually miss when we talk about drinking or smoking or any of the rest.
God wants us to find pleasure in what He made for us to use, but He wants more than that for us to find pleasure in Him and to use His creation to bring Him glory.

The Bible tells us not to get drunk, not to give in to gluttony, and not to gossip or defame because these things can never bring God glory.
Asserting, however, that all strong drink or all of a certain kind of food or a particular association is wrong for every Christian will not make us holy.  It can, if we are not careful, make us Pharisees.

 You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces.  You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.--Matthew 23:13


Obedient worship makes us holy.  Loving God more than anything or anyone else makes us holy.
Abstaining from strong drink does not protect our faith.  Following God does.
If that means, for you, abstaining from strong drink, then well and good.  If that means, for you, never eating a donut, that's fine.  If your cigarette separates you from God then, for sure, put it down.  But remember that doing so will not make you a good Christian.  Only loving God will.

God told Adam and Eve that they couldn't eat the apple not because there was anything wrong with the apple, but because it was more important that they want what God wanted.  
Apples are good.  Ignoring God is not.
Wine is good.  Tobacco is good.  God said so.
They exist because God wanted them for us.
But more than that, He wants our love and respect and worship.

We can use God's stuff as long as we can use it in His name for His purpose--to bring Him glory, to love Him properly.
If we cannot use something of His creation to honor Him, then, indeed, it is time to put it aside.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.--1Corinthinans 10:31



10 comments:

  1. I have been mulling over similar thoughts recently, especially the verse about how everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial. Wise words here, Joanne.

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    1. Thanks for this, Jen. It reminds me of something I didn't think about at first. More to come...

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  2. There is definitely a fine line here between pharisaical and honoring the Lord in our choices. Thanks for linking up with WIP!

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  3. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things hop. Your participation helps make it a success.I'm sorry I am slow to visit this week as I am fighting a nasty head cold and my time on the computer has been limited.Wishing you a beautiful day .

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  4. Yup. Everything in moderation and for God!

    Thanks for stopping by the weekend blog walk!

    Jenna
    callherhappy.com

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  5. Amen sister! You said it so well. We have to take responsibility for the things we do. We can misuse any gift God gives us if we don't stay before him.
    Have a blessed day!

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  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Christians should be the ones enjoying the good things God created the most, I think, because as we grow we learn to use them correctly. And this leads to healthy enjoyment of God's gifts. What freedom Christ brings!

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    1. Liking the way you expressed this, that Christians should be enjoying what God made the most. Yes.

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  7. JoAnne--Do ALL to the glory of God...that's really the bottom line. I appreciate your 'telling it like it is'-most people shy away from telling the truth. This is refreshing.

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    1. It's also a good way to get in ecclesiastical hot water. Not everyone agrees it's the truth, at least not regarding the alcohol and tobacco part.

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