A Lesson from a Gentle Giant

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All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. 1 Corinthians 10:23 

Sergey, one of our regular customers, is a very large and powerful man. Born and raised in Russia, he served as a judo instructor in the Soviet army for a number of years. His dramatic conversion to Christianity after emigrating to the United States was wonderful to behold, and his sensitivity to God’s leading left a deep impression on me. 

During one of Sergey’s visits to our shop, one of our employees, a good-natured youth who was impressed by his own strength, challenged this man to an arm-wrestling match. The outcome of such a contest was easy to predict as the youth was obviously no match for Sergey. But to our surprise, Sergey refused the challenge. We were all disappointed because we felt the young man needed to be taught a lesson. As it turned out, he was indeed taught a lesson, but it was far different from what we had expected. 

After considerable badgering, Sergey kindly and quietly explained that since becoming a Christian, he had entirely given up the use of force, even something as apparently harmless as arm wrestling. Such a statement from this giant of a man, this former trainer in the use of physical force for military purposes, had a sobering effect on all of us. While I personally would not consider arm wrestling to be sinful, God’s Spirit had obviously convinced Sergey that it was out of bounds for him. 

What about us? Is our Lord showing us there are some things we should abstain from even though others may legitimately engage in them? If we ask Him, He will be faithful to tell us.  

He that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:17

– Pete Lewis


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