All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. (1 Corinthians 6:12—NIV)

1 Corinthians 10:23 is a companion verse changing the last words to "but not all things edify". Chapter 6 details the fact that we are under new ownership free from our old sinful nature and released to acceptably serve God. Chapter 7 to the end of the book contain Paul’s answers to Corinthian questions detailing appropriate Christian behavior in real life situations.

Our verse is part of the philosophical introduction were Paul is discussing the new thinking pattern of the authentic believer. One can almost hear the Corinthians each time say, "All things are lawful", while Paul responds each time with the phrases which follow the word "but."

Because of new ownership in the believer’s life there is a new set of values. The word "helpful" means to bring together, picturing the saint’s obligation to "get it together" by making consistent his profession with his behavior. The profession of being saved requires a saved life, the profession of obedience to the Gospel requires an obedient life, and the profession of heavenly direction requires heavenly behavior. This is God’s forging work, motivating behaviors that are beneficial and profitable.

Paul’s second statement is the precept that he will not allow anything to exercise dominating control in his life and overpower the clarity of the priority and ownership of God. Anything which subsumes and subjugates the right, authority and power of God whether in the "black, white, or gray" areas of life, will not be given any thought by Paul. His highest desire is to live to bring glory to God in his body and spirit (verse 20) as properly owned by God.

As a Christian wrestles with the "gray" areas he must honestly answer a few basic questions in order to follow the leading of the Lord. Is this behavior in keeping with the ownership of God? Is this coordinating my profession and my behavior? Is this strengthening or weakening the

Be courageous enough to ask God to clarify and remove the gray areas of your life.