1 Corinthians 10:23
“I have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything, but not everything is constructive.”

How careful are you with influences you allow in your life? From the TV and movies we watch, to the music we listen to, to the books and magazines we read, to the webpages we visit, whether we realize it or not, every influence we allow in our life has an impact on us.

My oldest son, Dean is now 7 which leaves him at a tricky age in regard to which TV shows are appropriate for him to watch. Long passed are the relatively safe days of Veggie Tales, Rescue Bots, and Disney’s Cars. As the now called “baby shows” are of no interest, we have had to discuss at length what shows are and are not okay to watch.

A few weeks ago, after returning from the beach, I told Dean he and his brother could watch a show for a little bit while my youngest guy napped and I started in on some homework. Going downstairs shortly thereafter to check on them, I was not thrilled with the show they had turned on. Telling the boys they would have to watch something else, Dean respectfully asked why as he pointed out that it technically fell within all of the rating parameters and guidelines I had given him.

Understanding where he was coming from, I went on to explain that while the show did technically meet all of the criteria, it was still not a wise choice. I explained to him that just because some things in life are not clearly bad, that does not automatically mean they are good.

Immediately the words of the Apostle Paul came to mind. In 1 Corinthians 10:23 Paul says, “I have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything, but not everything is constructive.”

As I thought further about how every influence we allow in our life impacts us for better or worse, additional verses seemed relevant.

Proverbs 4:23-27 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth and put devious speech far from you. Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil.”

Psalm 101:3 “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes…”

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

So what does this look like in our daily lives? We keep alert and realize that just because something is not blatantly bad, does not mean it is good or worthwhile and should have a place in our lives.

We fix our eyes on Jesus. If the influences we allow in our lives don’t reflect Him we need to consider if they should be present at all. We ask ourselves, how is this show, movie, music, website, etc. impacting my walk with God? If the influence isn’t positive, we need to decide if the wise choice wouldn’t be to get rid of it all together.

What are the things in your life that are not necessarily bad, but are also not beneficial or constructive? How might they be keeping you from growing in your relationship with Jesus and living His best for your life?

I would encourage you to consider over this next week what these things may be. If something comes to mind, talk to God about it. Know that when we give up something for the sake of the Lord we will always gain much more in return.

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