Today’s Bible readings can be found at this link: Zechariah 1:11-21 and 1 Corinthians 10:14-33.

1 Corinthians 10:23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. (NIV)

            The trouble with both free will and liberty is that we begin to believe there are no boundaries or limits to what we can think, say, or do. We insist on having our own way and protest if anyone infringes on our rights. We govern ourselves and will not let anyone impose restrictions on what we desire to do and woe betide anyone who says otherwise. However, the unintended result is that we end up with a fragmented society where individualism is idolized and social justice is marginalized. We look after number one and everyone else can look after themselves.

            That may be the way our society is going, but if we apply the moniker ‘Christian’ to our lives, then we live under the sovereignty of God, and our selfish behavior places us under His judgment. This is why Paul emphasized the need to reflect on our conduct. No matter what we do or what rights we think we have, as Christians our deeds should always be accompanied by two questions: Is this beneficial? Is this constructive?

            Far too often, we see the religious zeal of Christianity which insists on getting its own way and doing its own thing, no matter how unbeneficial or unhelpful it may be. The rest of society looks on us with disdain and wonders why we’ve disconnected ourselves to the Founder of our faith, especially when we omit to show compassion, love, or grace. We can insist on being right instead of being kind, but all we will do is circle our wagons, build a wall, and enclose ourselves in a pit of our own making, which will eventually destroy our effectiveness as disciples of Christ and missionaries of His Word.

            So, the challenge that we have before us is this: whatever I seek to say or do today, I need to ask two things as a Christian, living under the sovereignty of God and not my own personal morality: Is this beneficial? Is this constructive?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, remind us that we serve You and not ourselves. Keep us from allowing pride or contempt to overrule our compassion and love. Retell us the story of how Your grace has been applied to our lives and help us to share it selflessly with others. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.

Today’s image is one of John’s holiday drawings called “Liberty Roses.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click here. If you would like to give some feedback on today’s message, please send him an email to