I don’t want to be judgmental. I don’t even know if I can say it is right or wrong. But there is a trend I see happening that is just not sitting right with me. I think sometimes in the church we have erred on the side of caution to a fault. One area would be in the discussion of sex. For a long time in the church sex wasn’t talked about except "don’t have sex until you are married." We never highlighted the joys, benefits, and pleasures of God designed sex in a marriage. We just said to our teens and unmarried people don’t have sex, instead of saying save yourself for what God has created sex for. We haven't shared that we save ourselves to live in and cherish all of the blessing that come from sex in marriage. But that discussion isn’t my concern today.
The Bible teaches the concept that we are to “live in the world, not of the world” (1 John 2:15-17). It also teaches that we are to separate ourselves from the sinful ways of life that we left when Christ became our savior (Colossians 3:1-17). These thoughts as well as many others has in many ways formed the way our society once looked. But as society has left the church, what has become “ok” to society now looks drastically different than the church. As a Christian, called to live pure and holy lives, this difference is a good thing.
But here is where my concern lies. While the church may look different, it continues to drift further away from purity. I guess what I am saying is if society is way out on the 50 yard line then the church is on the 10 yard line. But as society continues to move further away, the church seems to be doing the same thing. If society moves into the enemies territory, say going to the opponents 40 yard line, the church is still 40 yards separated from society, but is now residing on their own 20. Does that analogy make sense? In a sense, we are still looking different from society, but we have drifted from the holiness that marks a Christian, and accepted things society accepted ten even fifteen years ago.
What brought all of this on is something I am seeing from Christian in my generation all around me. I feel in many ways we are not separating ourselves from society. I was looking for information from an author whose book I am reading. On his biography page on the website of the church where he serves, he openly stated that he enjoys a cigar from time to time. I saw recently on a friends Facebook page, his profile picture shows him smoking a pipe. I know another guy, when he was hired as the youth minister of his church, he reported back that their staff goes out to a bar once a week, drinks a few beers, just to stay grounded. Now friends, I am not saying that drinking alcohol is wrong. I am not saying smoking a pipe is wrong, but where is the line that we draw in the sand for ourselves as followers of Christ? These are simply illustrations.
I think in some ways, we don’t really want to separate ourselves from the world. I think in some ways, we want to follow Jesus, and I really mean follow, but we also want the world. We want to be committed followers, but we don’t want to look that different. Friends, this concerns me. Being a follower of Christ is a call to purity, is a call to separation, is a call to pursuing holiness. Instead of being on the 10 yard line, maybe we need to consider being on the goal line or even in the end zone. The age old saying continues to ring true … “it’s not how close to the fire can I get without getting burnt, it is how close to God I can get to truly worship him with my life through purity and holiness.”