All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.
Have you ever filled up on appetizers? Maybe you’ve had a meal waiting for you, but then you started snacking. Suddenly you realize you’ve lost your appetite. I do this all the time. My wife will be cooking, and I’ll start swiping a few bites of food. Before I know it, I’m eating my way around the kitchen. When she finally serves her wonderful, home-cooked meal, I’m not hungry anymore because I’ve filled up on other things while I was snacking.
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We can snack on the junk food of life, as it were, and dull our spiritual appetites. They may not be bad things necessarily, but they can diminish our hunger for the Word of God.
It is not a sin to watch television, but it is a sin to watch some things on television. I will admit to you that after I have watched television for a while, I feel sort of brain-dead. Do I then have a desire to go read the Bible? No. I have diminished my spiritual appetite.
There are things we can do that keep the edge off our hunger for the things of God. For example, when I listen to praise music, it builds me up spiritually. It encourages me and even stimulates my appetite for spiritual things.
The Bible says, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify” (1 Corinthians 10:23). Or, as the J. B. Phillips New Testament says, “As I have said before, the Christian position is this: I may do anything, but everything is not useful. Yes, I may do anything but everything is not constructive.”
We want to look for the things that will increase our spiritual appetites, not for the things that will diminish them.