(Part Six of the Playing King of the Mountain with God, Series)
I spent three or four days with a group of guys attending a Christian college, a few years ago. We were talking about sexual sin. All but one admitted to having a fairly active sex life. None of these men were married. All of them attended Christian schools all their life.
“Well, what do you think when you read these words from the Bible, I asked? “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:9 & 18
Their replies surprised me. They’d never really talked about it between themselves. “Do you mean when you came back to the dorm at 1:00 in the morning and bragged about having sex, none of you ever challenged the morality of that?” I asked.
“Mr. De Graaf, when you went to college, did you ever challenge your friends about having sex with their girlfriends?” Sheepishly I had to admit, I hadn’t. That began a great dialogue on why Christians who know better, openly violate clear teachings of scripture and aren’t even embarrassed about it with other Christians, because everyone does it! And I’m not just talking about sexual sins.
The only real difference between those young men and many of us, is the clear biblical teaching, we chose to ignore. So why would we dare do that? Consensual Hypocrisy Last year, I blogged on the topic of consensual hypocrisy, (http://bit.ly/1muwRZ3 & http://bit.ly/1ff5HQM). Consensual hypocrisy is the silent resignation by the Christian community to a life and lifestyle that looks nothing like what we claim to believe theologically. And, since everyone else appears to be cutting corners on living like Jesus and getting away with it and they’re Christians, it creates a moral, gravital pull on each of us to lower our own standards. And, with this more “pragmatic Christianity” comes the loss of both the moral right and the will to call others back to biblical living.
Just think how often we’ve made choices to watch certain movies or T.V. programs, you knew were antithetical to a biblical worldview, but did so without much serious guilt because other Christians you knew were watching them. And why is it that Christian men will often use course language, tell off color jokes, or drink more than is wise, knowing full well Jesus would never do any of those things?
Reflect for a moment on your rationale for buying your home you live in. Was living like Jesus the primary rationale? Or did you take comfort in the fact that you knew other wonderful Christians who lived in even better homes. Everyone’s doing it.
I’ve sat with men addicted to pornography, knowing full well how sinful it is, who took comfort in surveys that showed 60% of all Christians men struggle with pornography. Everybody’s doing it.
In our heart of hearts, many of us are wanting the freedom to make similar choices that we see others making. By the disobedience of others, they’ve actually given us permission to do that. For sure, they’re never going to call us out on it.
The truth is, while not everybody’s doing it, many Christians are. And it doesn’t take much to tempt us to live like the world. I have to admit using the, everybody’s doing it, justification for some of my own selfish or sinful choices, occasionally. However this passage in scripture has been helpful to me to bring me back to my senses.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
“Worldliness is whatever makes sin look normal, and righteousness appear strange” (Kevin De Young)
Trumping God So, whenever we let a “jury of our peers,” even Christian peers, trump a clear command of God, it’s the world and it’s sin! In this dangerous game of king of the mountain, not even the Christian community trumps God.
So, here are two questions I’d suggest you and the Holy Spirit take some time to reflect on this week; 1. How have I let my Christian friends pulled me down in ways I’d be embarrassed to have my pastor observe? 2. Is there anything in my life that tempts other Christians to live more like the world?
So, talk with the men or women you’re spiritually mentoring, or even your own children about this issue. Share with them your personal failures and the consequences of listening to the Christian world rather than to God for how to live your faith and life. Then, also share with them some good, but hard choices you’ve made which were counter-cultural, even in the church, and how God has honored them with peace of mind. Show them that righteous living works!
Question: In what areas are you most tempted to do something you’re reasonably certain God doesn’t want you to do, but you haven’t, because everybody is doing it?
How following Jesus works in real life.
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