“We are free to do all things, but there are things which it is not wise to do. We are free to do all things, but not all things are for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 10:23 (BBE).
Even if we are free to do something, we must not let anything bind us or control us. For me, there have been a lot of different interests, like music, video games and things like that, that have taken much of my time and a lot of my thoughts as well. There was a period where all my thoughts were busy with these things and I had no thoughts left over for God.
I had to find out for myself what was OK for me to do and how to use my time in the right way.
Bound by “normal” things
It wasn’t so easy to see how much I was actually trapped by these things.
When I look back then I can see that things that are quite normal, like checking Facebook or Instagram, had a power over me. I felt almost forced to check Facebook. I’m not saying that Facebook is bad, but for me it had become a habit, and before I went to bed or as soon as I woke up, I would have to check it. I just had to. It was like a strong desire that I could not control.
Another example is video games. A lot of people like to play video games now and then to relax, but I know that I have to be careful. For me personally, there is a danger that all of my thoughts become busy with the video games, and then there is no space for God. It is not that I have to think about God all the time, but the danger was that I felt that I didn't need God anymore.
Video games and social media are not bad in themselves. But for me they became more important than living a Christian life, than living for God. My world and thoughts became focused on doing what I wanted to do, all the things I was interested in, and I didn’t need anything else.
I saw things like reading God’s Word or doing something good for others as things that kept me away from enjoying my hobbies and interests. And I didn’t see how far away from God I was; I thought my life was okay and I had no desire to get more of the fruits of the Spirit like patience, kindness and goodness.
When I was only thinking of my own interests and hobbies, I couldn’t overcome sin and it felt like overcoming was very difficult. Now I can see that it wasn’t strange at all that I couldn’t overcome.
For a long time, I didn’t want to believe that my own interests and hobbies were a problem. I had to humble myself and God really had to show me how weak I was before I could see that the wrong things were important to me. I had to learn that I could not check Facebook and I could not play video games at this point in my life, because these things had power over me.
When I realised this, I began to work actively to give my thoughts to God and to fill myself with His Word.
What should I use my time for?
As Christians, we go through battles every day. We fight against the sin in our own human nature every day. We are tempted in the trials that come our way and it takes a fight to overcome the sin that we are tempted to. I think of my time between the different trials as a time of preparation. I can sit down and read God’s Word – it’s a preparation for “battle”. I needed to use that time to read God’s Word and to fill myself with a good spirit so that I was ready to “fight” when I was tempted. (Psalm 119:9.)
It’s important for each of us to find out for ourselves what we can use our time for and what we should be doing. It was important for me to find out. Of course, I can’t always be reading my Bible, but whatever I do, I do it in a good spirit. It’s not natural to read God’s Word all the time. I don’t even think that’s healthy. We live our lives, we are with other people and we have things to do. But even while I am not reading God’s Word I still live the life of a disciple.
The difference in my life
Usually I don’t feel like, “Yes! Now I’m going to bless the others,” or, “Now I’m going to read a verse and it will be amazing!” There is almost always something else I would rather be doing, so I have to give up something.
But there is a huge difference between the days I spend now living for God and the days I spent living for myself before. The whole difference lies in how I use my time. I didn’t understand it before, but now I see that that is what makes all the difference. I cannot expect to live an overcoming and fruitful life without God’s Spirit. I know that God’s Spirit is in His Word, and I want to overcome and live a life with God. That’s why I must fill myself with God’s Word every day, no matter how busy I might be.
Before, it was almost like my day felt useless and incomplete if I hadn’t reached a certain level in a game or done something with music in some way. But now those days are gone. Now the day is not complete if I haven’t gotten something heavenly in my life, if I haven’t filled myself with something good and pure from God. This has made me very happy, with a great hope for the future and for what God can do in me!