Second, Paul says in 6:12 —
12 Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything.
OR All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything. In other words, not only let your actions be guided by the law of love, but also let them be guided by the law of liberty. Don’t ask, Am I permitted to do this as a Christian? Instead ask, Am I a slave to this act? Is this food or drink or sex or hobby or work becoming my master?”
What is the law of liberty? It is when the Holy Spirit controls you from within.
Paul says in Rom 8:2,
2 … through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
In other words the working of the Spirit is a law of liberty. It frees us from the power of sin and death.
2 Cor 3
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.
So there are two laws that govern the behavior and habits of a Christian: the law of love (Will this be helpful, will it build up another?), and the law of liberty (Will this enslave me, if I do this will I become addicted to this thing?).
If we ask how these two laws relate to each other, Gal 5:13 gives an answer —
13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Biting and devouring, being highly critical, gossip. These are the opposite of love. Satan will use these things to destroy the church. Instead, use your freedom to love. Freedom is more foundational than love. Inner freedom is the spring; love is the water that flows from the spring. The water flows out in helpfulness to others. The inner work of the Holy Spirit frees us from every form of enslavement so that we can be free to love God and out of the overflow that He gives to us, to love others.
So the most basic challenge 1 Cor 6:12–14 presents to us is this–preserve your freedom in Christ and don’t be enslaved by anything. Then and only then will you be able to love.