Summary: How much of our lives should we being giving to God?
As I have been spending time reading God’s Word in the mornings, I have been trying to pick out verses to think about throughout the day. One particular verse that has jumped out at me this past week is 1 Corinthians 6:12. "‘Everything is permissible for me’--but not everything is beneficial. "‘Everything is permissible for me’--but I will not be mastered by anything.”
In this passage, Paul is writing to the church in Corinth confronting their behavior. The Corinthian people had been using these “slogans” to justify their behavior that was displeasing to God. Paul doesn’t shoot down their ideas themselves but focuses on the effects of their actions. What Paul is saying to them is, “YES, you have free will to do whatever you want to do. BUT, not everything will be helpful to your relationship with God. YES, you have free will to do whatever you want to do. BUT, you can’t let anything master you because then it will become an idol above God and you won’t be practicing self control.”
As I though about this passage I asked myself, “What am I allowing to master me? What am I placing above God?” As I examined my life I found a few things but the thing that topped the list was the Red Sox. I have been staying up really late watching the games which has been exhausting me. I have been very emotionally involved getting upset at certain moves or just not being able to look at the TV. I have then spent almost the full day listening to sports radio to get the latest news, which had been my time to meditate on scripture. Melissa has been feeling like we have barely had a conversation because of baseball. The Red Sox have basically taken over a good portion of my life. I had let them master me!
Watching the Red Sox is not bad! Listening to sports radio is not bad! But they become bad though when they are running your whole life. They become bad when they start replacing God or going against God’s Word.
We all have things in our lives that master us, that take God’s place in our lives. For some it may be relationships, for others it may be food, for some it may be worrying about homework, or maybe video games. The fact is we all have stuff in our lives that take the place of God. Often, it takes a lot of faith to keep God first. Tonight, I want to finish off the story of Abraham because he had a major test of priorities towards the end of his life.
***Read Genesis 22:1-14***
Last week, we talked about God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah to give them a son named Isaac. God specifically promised that Isaac, and no other, would fulfill God’s promise to make the family of Abraham a great nation. This confuses me a little bit. If God is going to use Isaac to make Abraham’s family a great nation then why is God telling Abraham to go and kill him? Doesn’t God say human sacrifice is wrong? One of the beauties of scripture is that sometimes we can have more insight than the character had. We read in verse one, “Some time later God tested Abraham (emphasis mine).” God was testing Abraham saying, “Am I #1 in your life still? I gave you the son that you always wanted, am I still most important to you though?”
Abraham is not aware though that he is being tested and embarks on another major test of his faith in God. Again, Abraham could have questioned God. He could have wined saying, “But you said…” Abraham does not argue or complain but simply obeys God’s Word to take his son, go to Moriah, and sacrifice Isaac.
What a tremendous act of faith!! In Hebrews 11:17-19 Abraham is commended for this obedience to God’s Word. “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.” Abraham realized that God would stick to his previous promise and would not have Abraham kill his only son for no reason. In verse 5 of the passage we read that Abraham says to his servant “we (meaning himself and Isaac) will worship and then we will come back to you (emphasis mine).” Later in verse 8, after Isaac has asked where the lamb for the offering is, Abraham tells him that God will provide a lamb. Abraham followed God and put everything he had, including his own son, under God. Abraham was not mastered by anything!