Some of you will disagree with this post. And that’s okay, I guess. Because I’m not writing for my readers’ approval, I’m writing for God’s. And because Christians are allowed to disagree with each other on some things (ie, eating meat offered to idols), as long as they don’t sin in their disagreements. But these things are on my heart and mind right now, and I feel burdened to share.
As Christians, we are called to be holy. We are called to be separated unto God, set apart for the sake of His gospel. We are to be different from the world, in it but not of it. If you’ve been a Christian any length of time, this is not something new to you. You know that we have been chosen, and sanctified, and set apart for God’s purposes and for His glorification.
But how different are we supposed to be? How much are we supposed to separate ourselves from the world? I think of monasteries and nunneries… but God doesn’t call us to seclusion from the world. He calls us to sanctification within the world. How can we be lights in the darkness, if all our lights are cloistered together away from the darkness? Once again, nothing new to you, I’m sure.
So the question is, then, where is the line that we must not cross? Scripture seems to be silent on many of today’s more controversial issues – music, dress, entertainment, etc. But is it really? What about verses that tell us to “abstain from every form of evil” or to “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (1 Thessalonians 5:22; Ephesians 5:11). And how can we be “perfect, as [our] heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) if we dabble in the world’s sinfulness? If we flirt with it and laugh alongside it, belittling what God deems important and teasing ourselves with Satan’s sugar-coated lies?
I admit, I’m thinking about halloween tonight. Who isn’t? All the candy and costumes and cobwebs filling our stores and our neighborhoods. Please understand, I am by no means telling anyone that they are sinning by going trick-or-treating. I am by no means saying it is sin to pass out candy (and tracts!) to others. But I’m wondering where we are supposed to draw the line. Where God draws the line.
And that leads to other controversial issues, too. Like adding “Christian words” to rock or rap music, so you can have the same music that the unsaved world listens to, but without the guilt of the horrible lyrics. Or smoking fake cigarettes and drinking non-alcoholic alcoholic drinks. Hey, it’s okay to mimic the world as long as you don’t poison your body, right? But is that really abstaining from all forms of evil? Is that having nothing to do with the works of darkness? Do you think your average unsaved neighbor sees the difference between your “innocent” costume parties and their obsession with witches and ghosts and demons? Between your so-called “Christian rock” and their hard-core rock? Between your copy-cat drinks and the real thing? Do you think your participation in halloween (and other “grey areas”) shows them the difference that Christ makes in a life? Do you think it truly lets your light shine before them?
I know that every one of us has to make our own decisions. It would be a lot easier if the Bible had clearly stated instructions on some of these things. It doesn’t. But it does have principles. And we who are Christians have the Holy Spirit to guide us towards the truth. Towards holiness. Our decisions must be made with prayer, and searching of the Scriptures, and tenderness towards the Spirit’s leading. And with an eye towards eternity, for we will be held accountable for our choices.
I don’t mean to preach, or to condemn, or pass judgment on anyone. I don’t want to argue for argument’s sake, or to stir up controversy for the fun of it. I’m just intent on living a life set apart for the gospel, on letting my life show that I am no longer enslaved to the world or to sin. I’m intent on doing what God wants me to do, not what I want to do. And sometimes, that requires some hard thinking and careful discerning.
And I’m just asking a simple question, really – where does God draw the line?
And what are we going to do about it?