Consider these verses (paraphrased):
Rom 14:23 Anything not done with faith is sin.
Allow God to speak to your heart. Walk in these things. Don’t do because you should, do because He has freed you to do whatever He leads you in. Don’t judge it. We don’t see fully, rather, trust Him in all things.
1 Cor 3:13 Each man’s work with be revealed with fire that will test the quality of the work.
(quality = kind) Did this thing arise from our will and the performance-expectations of the world, or did they arise in the heart of God within you? This isn’t about fear of being exposed, rather about the freedom that walking in His freedom, even when others judge it, is acceptable, peaceable and profitable. Trust Him.
Luke 7:33-34 John the Baptist did not eat bread or wine and was considered demon possessed, while Jesus feasts and drinks and you call Him a glutton and a drunkard.
The world judges. No matter which way you go. This world of performance-based approval has us trying, doing, restraining and always questioning if we are good enough. You are...you are His. It’s not about effort but identity. It’s not about appearance but intimacy with Him who loves you.
As we celebrate the birth of the King, may we be free from the performance of “restraint.” May we be in reckless abandon and freedom in celebration at this miraculous time of year.
Once, years ago, leading a small group, I was trying to lose weight. I was bombarded with the thoughts, ‘My body is the temple, honor the temple, gluttony is a sin,” etc. As I struggled, God spoke clearly to my heart, “Vicki, you are “safe”. You are “huggable”. You are a port for these to rest with. Be who you be.” He spoke and I was given the freedom to be who He made me to be, size, weight, appearance – at least for that season. It was in listening to Him, that I walked in the weight I carried, allowing Him to order my steps in choices, and not concerned with what people would say, for He had spoken.
Today and tomorrow and through the new year, many of us will feel the need to restrain, to hold back, to exercise our will and refrain from the fullness of the celebration.
I just want to encourage you, that eating or not, drinking or not, is of no value unless Spirit led. Talk with Him. Ask Him what celebration look like for you and put aside all manner of performance-based approval. Hear His heart for you and celebrate in the beauty of the freedom He has given you. It was God who designed the temples and gave instruction for their dimensions and design, not the builders and not the worshippers. It will look different for each of us. Cookies and eggnog for me, different for others, yet as we walk in the space He gives, honoring Him, trusting Him we find the fullness of enjoyment and peace…without restraint.