Free to Eat, or Not

But fortunately God doesn’t grade us on our diet. We’re neither commended when we clean our plate nor reprimanded when we just can’t stomach it. But God does care when you use your freedom carelessly in a way that leads a fellow believer still vulnerable to those old associations to be thrown off track. (1 Corinthians 8:8–9 MESSAGE)

A funny thing happened to me recently. One of the sound-and-light people at the church where I pastor (a real character!) heard me teach on the subject of freedom. A couple of weeks later he pulled a gag on me. With an impish grin he said, "You had a birthday recently, didn't you?" I nodded yes. He said, "You're originally from Texas, right?" By now I knew I was in for something! "Yep," I answered. He said, "Well, I have something for you." He put a small can in my hand about the size of a can of snuff. It was a can of armadillo meat. I groaned. The label read, "Pure Texas Armadillo—sun-dried and road-tenderized." The ingredients were printed on the other side: "Pure sun-dried armadillo, run over by a log truck three miles south of Pollok, Texas. Not over 20 percent hair and gravel. May contain foreign matter."

He told me that since I was such a believer in grace, I was free to eat it. I thought, Whoa! This will gag a maggot! My point? Because of grace, my friend can eat armadillo and I can eat armadillo. It's okay. It's fine if he wishes to, but it so happens that God has led me not to eat armadillo. (It's that "foreign matter" that concerns me.) But if you want to eat armadillo, that's great! Personally, I have my own personal list of dietary don'ts (which includes armadillo). You may not have that on your list, so in good Texas fashion, "git at it." I promise, I will not slander you or judge you as you munch on all that hair and gravel.

What in the world is all this about? Let me give it to you straight. Don't give me your personal list of dos and don'ts to live by! And you can count on this: I will never give you my personal list of dos and don'ts to follow! Being free means you have no reason whatsoever to agree with my personal list; nor should you slander me because it isn't exactly like yours. That is one of the ways Christians can live in harmony. It is called living by grace, and it is the only way to fly.

Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This

Taken from The Grace Awakening by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 1990, 1996, 2003 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.

Take Those Thoughts Captive!

Let’s face it, many of us have trouble dealing with fear so we’re not controlled by it. But it is possible to replace fearful, debilitating anxiety with assuring truths from God's Word. Find helpful guidance in this article for overcoming isolation and enjoying peace-filled living.