One of my co-workers had a bowl of Tootsie rolls on his desk to share with everyone. They are the smallest size tootsie roll and when you're having a sugar craving just right to squelch it. They are only 11 calories and since I don't usually eat all my points in a day anyway, I don't feel bad about eating one. So that's five a week or 55 calories.
The problem comes in when I pop that candy into my mouth and the phone rings. Rather than gross out my co-workers by spitting it our and saving it, I just have to chew it as fast as I can before I answer the phone. Then I feel as if I was cheated, so I go get another one. On days when I'm weak, I might end up eating 3-4 of those delicious little bites and THAT IS NOT GOOD! Because after all is said and done, I might have close to 100 calories invested in those little brown devils. That's 15 minutes of walking at a fast pace to burn that off!
The bad thing is now my body wants at least one everyday at 3 pm. I have sworn off the temptation but my flesh is still longing, crying for, aching for a Tootsie roll. It tells me that just one won't hurt. It's not breaking the rules. It's well within the allowable guidelines. And so on and so on.
In our spiritual lives, the devil has a bowl of Tootsie Rolls that he is more than willing to share with us. Those little things in scripture that aren't marked as wrong, but that we are cautioned about. It's okay to have a little wine for your stomach, but notice he said "a little. For medicinal reasons. It's not prohibited. I can't say that someone who drinks a glass of wine now and then is going to hell. The problem is that things like this cause us to walk close to a line that we don't want to cross, if we truly love God, that is.
Let's look at alcohol for a minute. The Bible does tell us that the drunkard will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. From my BC (before Christ) days, I know that it is hard to tell when you have crossed the line from sober to drunk. The law has an allowable limit, but that doesn't mean it's the same as God's. Then factor in tolerance, that the longer we drink, the more we need to get the feeling we were seeking in the first place and soon we are not just taking one tootsie roll from the bowl and if we're not careful we have crossed the line into sin. (As a side thought I would just add that I have no earthly idea why a Christian would "need" a drink. There is nothing found in alcohol that you won't find more abundantly in Christ. If you feel that you "need " a drink, then friend, what you really need is Christ.)
You might say that you can handle it, that you know how much you can drink and stay sober. Godly Noah thought he could to. Read Genesis and see how that worked for him. Proverbs 20:1 clearly tells us that drinking is not wise. We are always seeking God's wisdom for the things that affect our lives-our marriages, raising our children, making business decisions, handling problems-so why won't we accept the wisdom God freely gives us without us asking? Why do we feel that we have to walk so close to the line just because we can? It's called carnality.
Billy Graham describes the carnal Christian as follows:
"There was a time, perhaps, when you were a spiritual Christian. You still had your first love; a fire burned in your heart for God. But something has happened along the way, something has disturbed your relationship with God, and you no longer know the joy, the peace and the thrill that you once knew." You have fallen prey to the three enemies of your soul-the world, the flesh and the devil and somehow it appears to be sweet like a Tootsie roll that just beckons to you from the bowl.
There are other things as well that if we overindulge in, they will steal our fidelity, strength and resolve and cause us to lose out with God. What are the tootsie rolls in your life? Is it entertainment? Music? The Sabbath? Modesty?
Take each tootsie roll and ask yourself these questions:
Will it benefit me spiritually?
Is there the potential for bondage?
Will it defile my temple?
Could it cause anyone to stumble?
Will it further the cause of evangelism?
Will it violate my conscience?
Will it bring glory to God?
If you truly want to please the Lord, error on the side of safety. Don't get too close to the edge. Don't walk on the line. Your enemy, the devil, is waiting for an opportunity, any opportunity to trip you up.