There are activities that can be morally neutral. It does not tell us in the Bible that it is a sin to drink alcohol per se, except when the Lord has directed us to give that up completely, or to not do so in front of a brother or sister where it could be a stumbling block for them. However it is clearly sinful to get drunk (Ephesians 5:18), and there are many activities that can be harmful spiritually and physically, and lead to consequent disconnection from God.
Paul was writing to the early Corinthian church who believed that the body was to such a degree of secondary importance to the soul that sins involving the flesh, in particular, sexual sin, did not matter very much. While Paul had exhorted the church not to get too hung up about the religious observance of feast days and certain foods (1 Timothy 4:4), he was at great pains to let the Corinthians know not to let the liberty we have under the new covenant be mistaken for a grace that allows us to do whatever we like with no adverse consequences to us and others. that's why he says in verse 13 that "the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body."
Paul has already told us what the consequences of being drunkards and fornicators without repentance is in verses 9- exclusion from God's Kingdom, but verse 12 goes deeper than that to cover a range of morally neutral activities that will not send us to Hell, but can lead to addiction, and can certainly stop us from being fruitful in the Kingdom of God. How easy would it be for us to give up our Kitkat bars, our favorite television programme, our newspapers, our soaps, our Mills and Boons, our time spent following our favorite sports team, watching sport, our beloved car , even our career, whatever it may be. Do we love Jesus enough to give all those things up if He asked us to? Jesus says in Matthew 8:34 " "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." To put it simply, Jesus was always denying Himself to obey His Father and because of His love for us. Are we leading that kind of sacrificial life? This is not to bring us into legalism by living like trappist monks or to create an impression of being "superspiritual" in front of others, but the issue is our response to what God has already done for us. 1 John 4:19 tells us that "we love Him because He first loved us." and 1 John 3:3 tells us that "everyone who has this hope purifies himself, just as He is pure." Are we purifying ourselves and edifying ourselves when we watch films and television programmes that glorify violence and sex, and champion warped worldy mindsets that go to the heart of our identity as human beings? Are we feeding our faith when we read and look at all the bad news in the world? Again, nothing wrong with that in itself. For example, keeping in touch with the news can help us to pray for world situations if we are capable of filtering it through the reality of the good news of God's Word, that Jesus is coming soon to bring peace and restoration to a hurting world, and wants to use us as His instruments to do that even now. However, if these morally indiferent activities become a substitute for time we could be spending with God. being edified and changed through His living Word, and serving Him, then they can take us away from Him.
Arguably, there are not so many morally neutral activities as we think there are, and this is something I believe Paul is trying to convey in 1 Corinthians 6:12. Are we being deceived into digesting a diet that is delicious to our senses but is in fact dangerous to our spirits? Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:12 that " All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any." Perhaps there is something in your life that is competing for your attention with God. Perhaps you might even be addicted to something, and don't know how to get free. The focus must be on Jesus. When we focus on the world and ourselves, we can get into a negative mindset that starves our faith of believing Philippians 4:13 " I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Romans 8:37 tell us that "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." The key is the last part of that verse, God's love. All the world's self help remedies for breaking free of unhealthy life patterns don't deal with our affirmation as people through God's love. Even if we think we have broken through from something in our own strength we run the risk of thinking we don't need God anymore. God's love through Jesus tells us that we are forgiven of any sin, however big, as long as we receive that forgiveness through receiving Jesus Christ into our lives as Lord and Saviour, and being genuinely sorry for our sins, and walking in repentance. We will go back to activities that are either not beneficial to us spiritually, or downright harmful because we do not feel worthy to come into God's presence to receive the joy and fulfilment that can be found nowhere else.
Psalm 16:11 says "You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." The Psalmist does not say that your Daily Star newspaper will show you the path of life, in the presence of Tesco and Sainsbury's there is fulness of joy, and that if you win the lottery there are pleasures for evermore. It is through a revelation of God's love and who Jesus is, and His complete forgiveness for your past sins, that you will get the same desire that Paul had when He says in Philippians 3:7-8 "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish that I may gain Christ." To get that revelation is to believe God's Word. In Ephesians 2:10 God's Word tells us "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." How are we spending our time?
God loves spending time with us, and our past sins are no barrier to that wonderful fellowship we can have with Him, when we're forgiven through Jesus. Often we can put the barrier up and run from God, through a misperception of who we are, and who God is. To be filled with God's Spirit, His presence, His power, and His love is more wonderful than any earthly activity, and is the ultimate affirmation for us as human beings. Our desire for irrelevant earthly pursuits will diminish the more we spend focusing on Jesus. A lot of our daily activities have only a fleeting transient value. Some are necessary, but a lot are not. As citizens of Heaven (Philippians 3:21), we should be fixing our eyes on Jesus, and on His Kingdom business . Colossians 3:2-3 tells us to "set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth, for you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." This might mean radical change for some of us. Making more time for God and His agenda, and less time for our own. It might mean spending less time with people who will encourage you to do those things that are either not beneficial or harmful to your walk with God. It is easy to make excuses. They come through doubting ourselves. We can only deal with those doubts when we remember who it is who we we belong to, and who lives in us.
As human beings, God wired us up to seek happiness , fulfilment and peace. Too often we try to deal with those natural desires superficially by doing something that will make us feel good for a while, but far from resolving our state of mind, will often make us poorer financially, physically, and most of all spiritually in the long run. The world encourages us to feel good now and not worry about later, that's the power of advertising. For example, it encourages us to believe in your friendly credit card company who altruistically have your best interests at heart, but who in reality are generally only interested in the montly interest they earn from you later. There is pressure to buy now and pay later. To take a hit now, and don't worry about tomorrow. To watch that immoral movie, and repent later. Satan will subtly feed you lies that may make you feel just great for a while, but he doesn't tell you about the damaging consequences later. The same applies to sexual sin, drugs, and alcohol for example. The fulfilment that comes from living in God's perfect will is a deeper long lasting inner peace, and inner contmentment that transcends our circumstances, good or bad, because unlike man, God is not fickle, you can trust Him with every area of your life. His love will not fail you. Relinquish absolute control to Him, and you will see the rewards for doing so. If not, even as a Christian, you may feel a sense of emptiness unfulfilled. Receive God's love afresh today, and ask Him for a faith that overcomes the world. He's more than ready, willing, and able to meet you where you are today, and give you all that you need.