Growing up in the church, the debate raged when I was a teenager about whether it was a sin to drink alcohol (It’s not). The church I grew up in was very conservative and frowned on a lot of behaviors like drinking. One night our youth pastor shared this verse. Whether it was right or not the main point is that not all things are beneficial. That has stuck with me as a grown-up. Is this behavior going to strengthen my relationship with Jesus? Something we all need to ask.
“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.”
Loved Their Liberty
The Corinthians love their liberty and like to celebrate it from the rooftops. Paul addresses this by telling them while things may be lawful, they weren’t profitable. The issue of debate in Corinth was food sacrificed to idols. The pagan temples would seem their meat at a much-reduced price than the market, and Christians wanted to take advantage of that. It didn’t cause them to stumble, but it was a struggle for young Christians coming out of paganism. Paul didn’t want their behaviors to lead to behaviors that would end up in addiction.
Are there behaviors in your life that aren’t profitable? They aren’t a sin, but they seem to water down your faith. Paul encourages you to concentrate on beneficial actions and won’t lead you to be mastered. This applies to more areas than just alcohol. Food can easily fill this category. Look at everything you do through the filter, “Is it beneficial?”
Not All Things are Beneficial
I am not trying to go hardline on you. Christians can enjoy life just like the next person. My point is that time is getting short, and it is essential to focus on profitable things because not all things are beneficial. Seek the Lord and ask if you should continue or give it up. If it is a noticeable struggle that you can’t overcome, you may need to seek help—the key to being free in Christ.