Okay, it's not a sin. But it's still stupid.
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 6, makes this assertion that some things are lawful for him to do but are not helpful. In practical terms, God gave him a perfectly good head on his shoulders and he needs to use it. There are some things in this world that are not wrong by moral, legal or spiritual standards but are simply unwise. As our mothers always say, "just because you can doesn't mean you should."
Living well means making purposeful decisions concerning your life that are helpful for you and others. There are plenty of options out there and most will be a complete waste of your time and energy.
- junk-food-only diet
- going into debt
- Netflix binging the whole weekend
- following a career path for the money
- swimming during a lightning storm
- saying yes to everything
- wearing cargo shorts, knee-high tube socks and sandals
When everyone is telling you that their path is the right one, the right one for you won't always be the easiest to see. How can we sift through the myriad of choices and find those paths through life that are helpful and good? There are some things that act as anchors - ways to hold fast to something when waves are hitting hard. Hopefully, these six anchors will help plant your feet and orient you in the right direction:
1. Seek wise council
If you have Godly men and women in your life, tap into that resource. These people are your family - your brothers and sisters in Christ. If they are Spiritually mature and seeking after God, He will use them to guide you and give you direction, pointing you back to Scripture as a cornerstone for Godly living. Older generations especially are an untapped resource by the younger generations. They have a lifetime of experience from which to offer wisdom and guidance and they are often thrilled to share what they've learned. Don't overlook them.
2. Think rationally
It blows my mind what some people (myself most definitely included) do just because "everyone else is doing it" or "it's cool" or "the man told me this option was the way to go." We're so easily swayed by peer pressure and cultural norms that we can get lost in the shuffle and begin acting like a herd of dumb sheep. Sometimes making a good decision requires us taking a step back to evaluate the situation objectively and thinking through it with a rational mind. The emotional mind is a powerful decision maker and is responsible for some irrational actions at times. Keep it in check.
3. Weight your options
Just because someone presents you with two options and recommends one doesn't mean it's the best. Do your homework and own the decision for yourself. In fact, just because someone presents you with two options doesn't mean those are the only two options! Really strive to think outside of your cultural box and question whether or not something is a "must" or a "fact."
P.S. - When in doubt, it's generally better to simplify.
4. Think long-term
I once read an article about saving money written by some hot-shot 20-year-old that encouraged young adults to not bother saving money because we aren't assured a long life so we should live it up while we can. It's probably the stupidest opinion column I've ever read. People have lost their sense of time. Our lives are not 2-dimensional - time extends into the future and actions that we take now will have an effect on our life 20... 30... 60 years down the road. Living well means living wise. We must think long-term.
5. Ask for divine wisdom
In James 1:5 we're told, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." God is not only able to give us wisdom but desires to give us wisdom. As soon as we believe that we are wise in our own eyes, Scripture tells us that we are "as fools." Wisdom - true wisdom - comes from God alone. Ask for it and you shall receive.
Never underestimate the power of prayer. Every time I do, I'm reminded why I'm not God. He's so much bigger than us and has such a beautiful and perfect way of working that we can't always understand. If only we can have the humility to pray, "your will be done" we'll discover that the good and helpful paths tend to be revealed. Praise the Lord for His provision!
Go and live well.