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Sunday, January 31, 2010

I can...but I won't.

Tonight, I began the 11-week Beth Moore Daniel Bible study during my quiet time. Several years ago, I studied the book of Daniel in-depth with my small group. We memorized twelve verses from the text, one from each chapter. Our main source of supplementary information was a commentary written by James Montgomery Boice. I hold the book of Daniel near and dear to my heart, as it's one of the first books of the Bible that I studied inductively.

Fast forward a few years, and it's time to dig back into Daniel. While God taught me so much during that first go-round, He's got even more to teach me now. Tonight, it is self-control.

Self-control and discipline have always been seemingly untouchable for me. For the formative years of my life, it didn't matter much, as I walked a straight and narrow path. Then, when I hit my twenties, I began to take little (and some big) detours from this path. Sometimes, that wasn't a bad thing, as I escaped the shackles of legalism that controlled my life. But, in the process, I also caused myself a ton of heartbreak by dabbling in a friendship with the world, and seeking to glorify myself and my personal desires.

I'm finally back on a fixed path (not necessarily an easy one), and I'm learning what it means to choose to live obediently---not because it is required of me, but because Christ transformed my heart. And, in that, I must not only exercise restraint with my choices, but also realize that my choices shouldn't be driven by self-glorification, but by the pursuit of holiness.

Paul says in both 1 Corinthians 6:12 and in 1 Corinthians 1o:23 that "everything is permissable, but not everything is beneficial/constructive. Everything is permissable, but I will not be mastered by anything."

So, basically, as a sanctified believer, I have the freedom to make simple choices about where I go, what I do, who I engage, etc. But while I am covered by both my sins and my transgressions (Psalm 32:1), I have been empowered by Christ to make wiser choices about where I go, what I do, who I engage, etc.

Beth said on the video tonight, "I can...but I won't." I am saying tonight, "I can...but I won't." Sometimes, the first step is to say it aloud. Isn't that what they teach you in AA? "Hi, I'm Mary Anna. I'm a self-aholic."

"But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way." Daniel 1:8

He could have. But he didn't.


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