Not All Things Are Helpful….

Written by Rhonda Alstott

In 1 Corinthians 6:12, the apostle Paul says, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything.” As 2021 comes to a close, and I reflect on the highs and lows of another hard year, a bright spot in my life is a substantial loss of weight for me. My obesity is something I have struggled with, starting in my college years when I got far enough away from my childhood and began to process trauma, not only in therapy, but with the instant amazing feeling that came when I stuffed a Resee cup into my mouth. In 2019 I began looking hard at some of my personal issues. I faced some things I had put off and continued through 2020 into 2021, where health issues became my intervention for my adulthood addiction to sugar. There has been no magic surgery for me, no special program……. just a hard reckoning that the legal drug (sugar), I was abusing to fix my emotions was killing me physically. I realized my relationship with food, especially sugar, was no longer helpful to me.
Another high point for me this year was reentering the workforce after an eleven-year absence. I was hired by an agency I had worked with early in my professional career, Our Place Drug and Alcohol Services. I love my job as our county’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coordinator. I help oversee the Indiana State Department of Health’s goal to help Hoosiers see that tobacco use is not helpful to them as well as those around them. A big deal of my time has been spent educating our community that the Big Tobacco Companies have targeted our youth and other marginalized groups with flavored tobacco and vaping. Sometimes the task seems overwhelming. Our Youth are vaping and becoming addicted, and it is being marketed to them as safe. They are becoming the next generation of nicotine addicts. Our Place also offers education, prevention, intervention, and treatment services for individuals of all ages, families, organizations, and communities who are presently or potentially impacted by alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs of abuse. This is our mission statement. It is a cause I can throw my energy behind. Both of my parents suffered from alcoholism, and both died an early death because of their relationship with alcohol and other drugs. It also fits with Paul’s advice that not everything that is lawful is helpful.
I love the way the message puts verse 12 and 13 of 1 Corinthians: Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it is spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. You know the old saying, “First you eat to live, then you live to eat?” Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor Him with your body!” Addiction is not a respecter of age, status, or gender. It also does not respect Christians. I know several Christians and Christian families that suffer from the disease of addiction. Tony and I have had lots of recent heartaches and headaches due to some of our extended family members that refuse to look at their relationship to alcohol and other drugs. On the flip side, we have courageous and brave family members willing to get the help and support they need to tackle their disease. Recovery is a beautiful thing. It deserves to be celebrated.

My prayer as you enter 2022 is that as you make your New Year’s Resolutions, you will pray and seek to understand yourself better. That you will earnestly seek to rid your life of the unhelpful things. That all of us would work hard to not be a slave to our whims. It may be a gaming addiction. It may be workaholism or an addiction to what others think. It may be an addiction to sex, drugs, or alcohol. It may be an addiction to being mean to your spouse or maybe even hating on a certain group of people. May God give us the wisdom and grace to remove what is not helpful, so we can get on with His mission of making disciples. May we be dominated by nothing but the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Happy New Year

5 Responses to “Not All Things Are Helpful….”

  1. William Schuppert says:

    Thanks Rhonda for this very frank look at certain things which may become an addiction to any of us.Both you and Tony are very open to presenting to us church members flaws in your own lives showing like Jesus that none of us are exempt from temptations. But Jesus was the only one that did not yield. His example to us is what we must strive to achieve.

  2. Jeanne says:

    Amen sister! 🙏 you look marvelous at any size btw…

  3. Marilyn Dorton says:

    Rhonda, years ago I on top of my addiction to sugar. I was so in tuned to what God would have me do to rid myself of this hold it had on me. I wouldn’t put anything in my mouth I felt was not good for me. Somewhere I lost my way not only to the addiction but my relationship with God. Your message has stirred my heart. I need to find myself once more back to God and overcoming my addiction. My relationship with Christ has been like warm for years. I want more.

  4. Susan Schmitt says:

    Well stated Rhonda! We all need to strive to better, and with God, we can be better! Thanks to you and Wesley Chapel for giving us all the tools we need to accomplish this. Love you!

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