I have a notorious sweet tooth. I make no secret of it, but I should probably feel slightly more guilty about it than I do (my blood glucose levels would thank me). As it is, I profess a weakness for cake, pie, cobbler, chocolate chip cookies, and about anything involving peanut butter or labeled "Little Debbie." My candy bucket, kept fully stocked in my office, sees its share of action from my flock, too. Sugar makes friends.
It also creates a myriad of health problems. Diabetes is not your friend. Obesity, including childhood obesity, is at epidemic levels. Mountain Dew has destroyed so many teeth in Appalachia it's been mentioned in a few documentaries. Sugar may be a delight, but it can also be a force of destruction.
In 1 Corinthians 10, as Paul writes about food sacrificed to idols in conjunction with the Lord's Supper, he states, "'I have the right to do anything,' you say -- but not everything is beneficial. 'I have the right to do anything' -- but not everything is constructive" (v. 23). This is as true for everything else as it was for the sacrificial food question. I can eat a whole pack of Oreos at once -- but that wouldn't be beneficial. I could clobber a cobbler -- but that wouldn't be constructive.
Similarly, I could engage in sexual immorality. I could lie. Steal. Murder. Use drugs. Spread gossip. Max out my credit card. Cuss like a sailor. Throw away recyclables. Sleep in on Sundays. I could do all of those things -- but I shouldn't. Even if I have a "sweet tooth" for them, they're not beneficial, not constructive. So I can't indulge in them. I am freed from sin by Jesus Christ. I'm free indeed -- but with great freedom comes great responsibility. A responsibility to deny myself, take up my cross daily, and follow Jesus.
A responsibility to choose the good.
"No one should seek their own good, but the good of others." -- 1 Corinthians 10:24