Permitted vs. Beneficial
We sometimes can be guilty of trading our eternal freedom for a temporary freedom here on this earth. We get to die on our own terms - think on that one a bit and you may just understand why the Apostle Paul reminds you and I that some things are not all that beneficial to us. We might not be 'sinful' in our actions, but are our actions always that beneficial to us? Comfort is not always the end result of following Jesus. The life of Christ within us means we aren't going to experience comfort when we try to slip back into our old ways of living. In fact, we will begin to experience our 'comfort' is quite 'disturbing' to us because God has so much better planned for us!
Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer captive to sin’s demands! ...When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did. That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God. (Romans 6:6-14)
Just because something is permissible in our lives doesn't mean it is beneficial for us right now (or ever). We might justify our behavior because we know something is 'permitted' - but we don't stop to consider if God is actually giving us the 'go-ahead' to engage in that behavior. Permissible differs from beneficial, but we don't stop to consider the cost of 'permissible'. For example, we may be 'permitted' to drive at speeds up to 75 mph on the interstate, but it is not 'beneficial' to do so when it is highly trafficked, the weather is bad, or the wildlife is attempting to get from one side to the other.
Sin speaks, but we don't have to listen, choosing to listen to God's voice instead. God speaks, but we may pick and choose what we hear. Did you hear that? We 'pick and choose' what we will hear when God speaks to us. Why? We aren't willing to let go of some of the things we know are 'permissible' in our lives that God is saying are actually holding us in places of bondage we may not even recognize. How can something 'permissible' hold us in bondage? God is asking us to leave it behind so he can bring us into something greater, but we are holding onto it because are in a place of comfort right where we are.
We should not rely upon what God says is 'permissible' in our lives. Always ask him what is 'best' for our lives. What is it he says is 'beneficial' for us? The two may be the same, but there are times what we know he permits is really keeping us from ever moving forward to what is totally beneficial and beyond our imagining. Just sayin!