Recently I’ve been troubled by how mediocre American Christians seem to be. I notice this in our youth group, our young adults, our regular adults (is there a such thing?). I’ve noticed it among fellow Christians on good ol’ Facebook and I’ve heard it from friends in other states.
It seems like its more and more common place to be just that, common place. What has happened to the Christians that changed the world like in the First Century church? Of course we’re still sending missionaries to third world countries (praise God for that!), but did you know that more and more countries are sending missionaries here? To the “Christian” nation of the US of A? What does that say about us? What do other countries really think of us?
A lot of what I’m going to mention next is my opinion. I’m basing it on Biblical principles, but it is the so-called “gray” areas.
It bothers me when Christians openly drink. Yes, the Bible doesn’t say that drinking is strictly prohibited. It does say:
“For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self‑controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” -1 Thessalonians 5:7-8
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
I don’t think that drinking alcohol itself is a sin, but I do believe that starting down that path, even with one drink occasionally is dangerous. A person never knows if they have a heredity bent towards alcoholism…until its too late. I have seen my share of drunken idiots and depressed alcoholics from my previous job. Believe me, most of them didn’t plan on ending up where they are now. Also, as a Christian, why give some critical nonchristians anything to accuse you of? Why be a stumbling block to others instead of being the salt of Christ that they need to see? I just think its a dangerous path to be on when you’re voluntarily ingesting anything that can lessen your self-control and thinking.
And when I said “openly drink,” I don’t mean that you have to hide in your closet to drink a glass of wine. But please, does everyone need to know what alcoholic beverage you’re enjoying tonight? Do all 500 of your Facebook “friends” need to see that picture of you with that beer in your hand? You may never know what kind of an impact that had on others.
Ok, off soapbox #1.
Onto #2: Entertainment.
Too often, we (myself included), aren’t critical enough of what goes into our minds and hearts. Music, movies, TV, video games, books, web browsing…all of these have a habit of entrapping our attention…and us…before we even stop and evaluate what we’re letting in. We get so wrapped up in the good “storyline,” the great “special effects” or the “beat” that we fail to notice that we’re being entertained by things that our Savior died to free us from. Maybe I’m being too unrealistic…or too strict. But am I really?
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” -Philippians 4:8
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” -Ephesians 4:29
Now, most people will say that what they watch and listen to doesn’t affect their own speech and thoughts. I don’t really believe that. I’ve seen and heard the opposite evidenced by discussions and confessions in D-Groups, Facebook statuses and the like.
“The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?”-Jeremiah 17:9
We can tell ourselves it doesn’t affect us, but one way or another it will come out.
Like I mentioned before, we all seem to be so entertained by the sin of others, things that Jesus died for. Why is that? Our minds have been so twisted into being entertained by sex, pornography, crude innuendos, filthy language, abuse, murder, crime, bloody horror, supernatural demonic activity and the like. We no longer seem to be able to enjoy good clean entertainment. Real life good stories are seen as boring and poor entertainment. It so bothers me! I was reminded of this a couple times this last week when we were going on netflix trying to decide on a movie with some of our youth. One time they were bored with a good clean movie. The other time they kept mentioning these “good” movies we should watch…that were all full of sexual references, nudity and language. They were frustrated when I mentioned any of the above, saying “they’re not that bad!”
Since when did “not that bad” mean they were good? I think thats the key problem with us Christian Americans. We’re content with filling our lives with things that “aren’t that bad” instead of
Seeking out the truly good, pure and clean. Why do we constantly push to see how far we can go without being past the line? This goes for all aspects of life: relationships, entertainment, drinking, language, etc.
Why are we satisfied with the commonplace? With fitting in and just doing barely enough? I think our saltiness is quickly being diluted. So, how long until the world completely throws us out? Until we’re trampled underfoot and useless?
Let’s quit blending in and settling for what “everyone else” is doing…