I was raised in a very conservative church. Growing up, it seemed to me that there were too many do’s and don’ts. I have sat under some preachers who seemed more focused on outward things, than the inward and a true relationship with God.
I have come to realize I don’t have to do everything I have been taught to be a Christian and live a life that pleases God, yet there is a danger of throwing out too much of what one has been taught. I have seen many people who grew up in the same circles I grew up in that aren’t any different than the world. And we should be different. What that difference is will vary, but there should be a difference.
I have run across many blogs and conversations on Facebook that concern me. Any time a question is brought up about a Christian doing something, and often it is something that has been taboo for Christians for years, and sometimes is even something that is spelled out in Scripture…..Christians will argue til they are blue in the face why it is OK for them to do it. They refuse to listen to any reasons why it might not be good for a Christian to do it, and they don’t say it in so many words, but this is what comes across “I’m not under the law, and I can do anything I want, and I will do anything I want.” No consideration is given how it might affect others, or affect their testimony. It is their right to do it, and they are going to do it. People will argue til they are blue in the face about why they should be allowed to do it, and will often resort to bringing up something totally off topic to try to prove their point.
I’ll be the first to admit churches and people can take things too far. I know of a pastor who preached against using hair spray, against women wearing sweat shirts. He even told his congregation not to shop at the local Christian bookstore because they sold Christian Rock, which he was firmly against. One has to look no further than the Amish, who have rules upon rules, all things they cannot do, and they have removed themselves so far from society and the world, that what good are they to the cause of Christ?
Yet, the general attitude of too many Christians is we are going to do and have whatever we want to make ourselves happy. So what if it causes our brother and sister to stumble. It is their fault, not ours. So what if we instill more love for the world in our kids than things of God. We deserve to dress how we want, go where we want, drink and eat what we want, indulge ourselves in the same entertainment and music that the world does. God is in our heart, we are bound for Heaven, we are not under the law, so who cares how much like the world we are. This is the year 2013, not the dark ages. We have to fit in. What was wrong yesterday, isn’t wrong today.
I am afraid too many of us are setting the standard we like for ourselves. How many of us pray and seek God’s will on how we dress, what we drink, how we entertain ourselves, what we do on the Sabbath…… and the list goes on.
Not everything is spelled out in black and white in the Bible, but there is enough in the Bible to guide us in any area of life, if we let it. But too many of us are molding the Bible around our lives and what we want to believe, instead of molding our lives and beliefs around the Bible.
God could have spelled everything out, but would it do any good? I could list a few things that ARE spelled out in the Bible, but people do anyway and reason around it. I was talking about one certain issue with my best friend and we had the following conversation:
Me: I don’t agree with people on that, but I can see their point. As someone pointed out, it is only mentioned in one verse in the Old Testament”
My friend: “Shouldn’t one time be enough, if God said it?”
Where have we gotten the idea that it is all about us and our comfort? Our goal is Heaven, and our goal should be to please God in all we do, and to not do anything that could hinder us our someone else spiritually….. But we have lost that. There is enough in the Bible to put our lives against and see what God might not want us to do, but we don’t care.
I firmly believe there are things tons of Christians are doing that they would be better off not doing. Things that don’t make us better Christians, or even better people. Things that don’t draw us closer to God, but draw us closer to the world and make us fit in with the world better.
And could that be part of the problem? We want to fit in? We don’t want to stand out in how we dress, where we don’t go, what we don’t do for entertainment, what we drink or won’t drink. Christians should be different from the world, and the difference shouldn’t be just inside, but for too many, it is. Our Christianity doesn’t affect how we look, how we talk, what we watch or read, it doesn’t affect our politics or our political views and voting….. We are just like the world, and we wonder why we don’t win anyone to Christ…. What would we win them from? If one can do everything the world does, why be a Christian?
People and churches should not dictate our beliefs…… but that goes both ways. They shouldn’t tell us how to live, but neither should they tell us we can do whatever we want.
We shouldn’t live as close to the cliff as we can. We should step back from it and have boundaries. Areas we don’t get close to, because we are Christians.
If Christianity was suddenly outlawed, how many of us could be convicted because we are different from the world? How many of us blend in so easily with the world that we would be overlooked.
Christianity is all about having a true relationship with God. It isn’t all about outward things. Yet, if we are in a relationship with God, we should all be more concerned about doing things He wants, and avoiding things He doesn’t like or want for us. If the Bible even hints at His displeasure about something, we shouldn’t reason around it and be determined to do it because we want to. We should flee it because He doesn’t want it in our lives.
We need to set aside the god of me, and make God the decision maker and true ruler of our lives, not us. We need to quit being focused on what we want and can do, and focus on what God might want us to do or not do. I know..... what a novel concept.