Scripture: I Corinthians 6:12-20 (NIV)
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
How often do people think that Christianity is a bunch of rules and guidelines that keep people from having fun and enjoying life? That seems to be one of the issues for folks that aren’t Christian. They don’t want anyone telling them what to do or limiting their ability to have a great time doing whatever they want. Life is short, they feel, so why should they not enjoy themselves?
In a slightly different way, Anakin Skywalker thought the same about his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Anakin was sure that he’d be a great Jedi, a powerful warrior and Force wielder, if only his master wouldn’t keep putting limits on him. In Attack of the Clones, he complains that Obi-Wan is “holding him back” from reaching his true potential. Of course, Anakin’s tantrum on this comes right after he has slaughtered the Tusken Raiders that had kidnapped and killed his mother, thus undercutting his argument that his life without limits would be much better. Anakin could do anything, but without guidance and limits, he would be destructive instead of being the best possible Jedi he could be.
As Christians, we understand not only that there are limits, but paradoxically those limits make us freer. We have no desire to do all those things the world things we should want to do. What we want is to serve Christ, to live according to His teachings. We aren’t held down by the world’s demands, those pressures, and the side effects of doing whatever we think we should want. Instead, as one of our communion liturgies in the Methodist church puts it, we ask that God “free us for joyful obedience”. That joy that comes from doing what the Lord wants us to do puts any worldly joy to shame and helps us become the best people we can be!