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The Helpful, The Edifying, The Lawful, & The Illicit

Adam and Eve had it all. They had health (no sickness, injury, or death), wealth (The Garden of Eden), and prosperity (a perfect, uncorrupted relationship with God). It is hard to believe they threw it all away for the illicit....the one thing they were forbidden from doing. Genesis 2:16,17 “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Fast forward a little bit and we see mankind united in language with a desire to remain united in one location. This may not sound like a bad situation in itself, until it is revealed that they were all about making "a name" for themselves. They were about man's glory and not God's glory. The lineage and identity of being made in God's image was not enough for them. They decided to create an image and name for themselves. Pictured: Pieter Bruegel's The Tower of Babel, 1563 Genesis 11:4 “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

Over and over across Scripture we could read and learn messages of idolatry...pursuing the illicit in place of what is good and trustworthy, a walk with Christ. Yet, despite the many examples and exhortations we have not learned. 1 Corinthians 10:6,7 "6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters" Americans, and many others in our world today, continue to desire evil. We have all we need and ridicously more, so we pursue the illicit. We pursue the unhelpful. We pursue the self-serving. 1 Corinthians 10:23 "'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,' but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor." Christian freedom is amazing when it is understood as freedom of the law through the forgiveness of sin. Unfortunately, for many of us, Christian freedom is abused as a tool of self-worship, self-indulgence, and self-service. 1 Corinthians 10:31 "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 2 Corinthians 5:15 "and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised." Lord show us where we desire, pursue, or practice the illicit and help us to turn from it. God, convict and forgive us of where we seek to make a name for ourselves, instead of holding your name high and lifted up. Jesus, may the freedom we have in your grace and mercy be used to your glory, living our lives consumed by a love of you and not a love of this our lives in a way where we don't seek our own benefit, but instead seek to meet the needs of others.

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