What Masters You?
In 1 Corinthians 6 verse 12 Paul writes, “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. In context, Paul is telling the church as Corinth that the body is not meant for sexual immorality. As many of us know, sexual temptation runs rampant in our world and the knowledge of this s used by many marketing companies, so this message is still relevant today. But as we continue, we see that there is even more to this passage than the specific topic he is speaking on. Paul goes on to say the body is in fact made for the Lord and the Lord for the body.
Now, while many believers can grasp the idea of our bodies belonging to God, a small percentage apply this knowledge practically. It is a very generalized understanding for most, which bears little weight in their lives. Paul goes on to write in verse 15, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!” We see Paul pointing out the covenant made through acts of sexual immorality, and the war this wages on the will of God for us to join together with Him.
So how on Earth does this apply to our personal health practices? For starters, it gives us a very clear message that our bodies belong to God and can be used in ways he does not condone. Not only this, but it tells us that our bodies were made for Him. This means just because technology can do something with your body, doesn't mean that your should. How we use and treat our bodies should be based on a deep consideration for God's will in the matter. What does God want?
While we have the technical ability to sit for hours and binge watch Netflix while far more important matters go unattended to, is that what God wants? Though we can eat fast food every day of the week, is that what the Lord wants? Though we can place so many things on our schedules that we can’t find the time to exercise, is that what God wants? When we ask ourselves where many of the poor habits we have come from we’ll find they are directly connected to the desires of the flesh.
This brings me to the next question 1 Corinthians 6:12 draws to our attention. What masters you? Is it emotion, comfort, fear, or circumstances? In the King James Version, the words “mastered by anything” are replaced with “brought under the power of any”. Our temptations are in fact temptations because these items or actions have their own gravitational pull so to speak on the flesh. As Jesus states in the garden of Gethsemane, the flesh is weak. Sin nature is a part of our humanness because sin is in the world. This means that we do not naturally live according to the will of God, but must learn to do so and be empowered to do so by the Spirit of God. It is a discipline and a practice. Our bending to the will of items and actions shows greater obedience to the flesh than to the spirit of God.
Does this mean that eating ice cream for the sole sake of enjoyment is a sin? Of course not, but the feeling of helplessness toward having ice cream every night as though “you can’t help it” is a different story. The problem is not the ice cream itself but the reason you feel you must have it every night. Again, if you live a fairly healthy life and have made your evening scoop a way to maintain balance, this is not the same as if you don't live a healthy lifestyle and eat ice cream out of the continued negligence toward your health. The same applies to many areas of our lives where we struggle with self-control and discipline. The root of the problem is where the mastery lies, not the outcome. A good question to ask yourself in the situation is, “what makes me do what I only regret afterward?”