Thursday, September 6, 2012

Excess baggage

At our church's family conference this past summer, the speaker {Pastor Jerry Wragg} spoke about grace, love and unity in the body of Christ. In the last session, he specifically spoke in the different opinions believers have when it comes to the gray areas of the Christian life.

Although the Bible is the full council of God and the tool we need answer all of life's questions, it doesn't always say specifically "thou shalt do this" or "thou shalt not do that". That is what he referred to as a gray area.

Note: if the Bible does specifically say to {or not to} do something, that is not gray; it is black and white and our job is to obey {although that is sometimes easier said than done}.

An example is submitting to and respecting your husband. It is clear that we are to obey this command and that it is important since it is mentioned in more than one place. That doesn't make it easy, does it?

An example of a gray area is entertainment. The books we read. The songs we listen to. The movies we watch. Concerts. Sporting events. Spare time. The way we spend our money.

Pastor Wragg got me to thinking about these areas where we may not agree as believers. Some choose to live a more conservative lifestyle and others choose liberty.

The first and most important thing is to love one another, despite our differences. I listened to another pastor this morning point out that God could have made us all robots that follow Him without even thinking and without any personality differences. But He didn't and the church is a beautiful medley of differences in shape, size, color, age and sound. We glorify God when we live each other despite our different opinions.

When making entertainment choices, you might consider the following questions:

Is this something that will enhance your walk with Christ or drag you down? Is this something that promotes a sinful lifestyle?

But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. {Ephesians 4:20-24}

Does it leave you thinking certain sinful choices are not so bad {desensitization}? Does it celebrate something for which Christ died {violence, sex outside of a traditional marriage, cursing, blaspheming, disrespecting parents or government, lying, stealing, taking glory away from God}?

Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. {Romans 1:32}

Are you an influence to others, especially Christians that are early in their walk with the Lord and may be more vulnerable to temptation? Would your choice in entertainment be considered a stumbling block for another?

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.  {Romans 14:13-15}

As followers of Christ, we do not want to live sinful lifestyles and we certainly do not want to give approval to those who practice such.

We also don't want to make *seemingly* harmless choices that may hinder our walk with Christ or the walk of a younger Christian.

Some choices may not seem harmful, but they are just excess baggage on our walk with the Lord. Jesus came to make our burden light. Won't you follow after Him and leave the popular books, songs, TV shows and movies behind?

Even though these are personal choices and we shall not judge another by our own personal standards, we should seek the Lord's guidance when making decisions on how to spend our spare time and money.  

I mean, do you want to be found watching that show  when Christ returns?

You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. {Luke 12:40}

What do you think? Is there a show that you watch {or used to watch} on TV that promotes sinful lifestyles and maybe you have felt the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit to turn the TV off?

Have you ever walked out of a movie theater because of sinful content?

How do you teach your children to make wise choices?

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