None of the above is “bad” in itself unless the indulgence of that one thing takes a person’s mind off of Christ.
We read in scripture that God is a jealous God. That means that anything that distracts us from Him or His purpose for us can be considered an idol to us. The second and third and fourth commandments in Exodus 20:3-5 clearly make that point. Consider how important that is to God if 3 out of the 10 commandments deal with the idea of putting God first in every aspect of your life.
ANYTHING that distracts us from God (TV, computer, gaming, sports, shopping, recreation, work, school…etc. etc.) can become to us an “idol” if we indulge in that activity to the point of neglecting our time with God. I would even say doing “church things” can be distracting, if the motivation is “doing” and not actively seeking God’s will and direction.
I am reminded of Paul’s words in Romans 12: 1-2 …present your bodies as living sacrifices, acceptable to God; and not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the “renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Do not indulge in those things that are morally wrong, that may pollute our minds and our bodies; that offend God, that demean the Word, or negate the teachings of Christ. Our lives should be living offerings to the Lord. If anything is amiss in our lives that we know would cause the Holy Spirit to grieve within us, we need to let it go and repent. If anything is taking us away from building relationships with God and with others, let it go.
“He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.” Romans 14:6
“For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” v.8
Anything we do during our day should be for the Glory of God. If we work…do it for His Glory, not ours. If we play, do it for His Glory, not ours. We give thanks for every good thing and we give thanks for every negative thing that comes our way, because we believe in that we are honouring God and acknowledging that He is indeed Lord of our lives. He is Sovereign and I believe that in everything God can be glorified if we acknowledge that He is totally in control. So if I face hardships (like cancer), I believe that God will never “leave or forsake me”, if I receive an accolade for a job “well done”…I acknowledge that I can “do all things through Him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).
I believe God calls His people to be “lights” in all areas of life. Some are called to minister in their places of employment. That means we should act differently than others around us may act in the work place. We don’t complain about our bosses to others, we go above and beyond the call of duty…because God has called us to do that. We submit to authority. We don’t lie or cheat or gossip (we are not of THIS world) so we need to act like it! We avoid temptation. We pray for those we work with, we share the love of Christ with them. We become the hands and feet of Jesus….and in everything…good or bad….we give thanks to God!
“…walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” (Colossians 1:10-12)
All that said, we need to ask ourselves several questions with regards to what side of the fence we want to live or die on when it comes to some of the “world’s” more controversial issues. Some of them are virtually no brainers – according to scripture to take a life is wrong, “Thou shalt not kill”….thus abortion is wrong, euthanasia is wrong. Period. Scripture is also very clear on homosexuality, greed, lust, and adultery. They’re wrong. Period. If we believe that, then that answers some of the questions with regards to sex before marriage, common law relationships etc….it’s wrong. Period. Oh, and then there are lots of other “no brainers” we’re not as keen on hearing or accepting: submitting to authority, (“rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”…ie: paying taxes); letting go of pride, honouring our parents, submitting to our husbands, loving our wives as Christ loved the church, living debt-free. I could go on.
And then of course, the one that causes a few Christians to sit on the fence and ponder upon…to drink or not to drink alcohol. In a nutshell, scripture is not clear to tell us one way or other if it is right or wrong to drink…what scripture IS clear about is that anything that leads to sin (or causing another to stumble) is wrong. Do I believe that alcohol is wrong in itself?…NO. Do I believe that indulging in alcohol can cause someone to sin?…YES. That’s the kicker.
If I drink a glass of wine before bed so I can relax get a good night’s rest am I sinning? No. If I have a glass of wine with a fancy meal or to toast in the New Year am I sinning? No. However, if my children see me drinking a glass of wine and it causes them to want to drink it…then I am responsible. They do not know their limits yet, they are prone to use my example as an excuse to over indulge because they are not old enough to know better. They respect me, they watch me,…if I am to guide them I must be careful that my actions are not misinterpreted by them. (That goes with everything I might add…kids will do as they see their parents doing…) If I toast in the New Year with others knowing that some in the room have a weakness for alcohol and do not know their own limitations…once again I sin, by participating in an activity that may cause others to stumble. Easy answer. If in doubt…don’t drink.
I think the one thing we have neglected in all of this is listening to the Holy Spirit. He will guide and lead you in everything. If you are in a quandary about something, don’t lean “unto your own understanding” but in ALL things acknowledge that you have a Counsellor Who is more than able to tell you what you should or should not do. If you feel that nagging, squirmy feeling of guilt whenever you drink…that’s the Holy Spirit telling you to NOT drink. Doesn’t matter the circumstances…whether you’re home alone, or in a crowd. If the Holy Spirit tells you to stay away from something…STAY AWAY. To ignore the Holy Spirit is disobedience to God. Scripture is pretty clear on THAT particular subject too!
Jesus drank wine…and good stuff too (according to scripture), yet Jesus never sinned. Why? He never over-indulged, He never forgot Who He was, Who the Father was, and what His purpose was. Jesus hung out with prostitutes and “sinners”…yet He never sinned. Why? He never forgot Who He was, Who the Father was, and what His purpose was. You too, can drink wine and not sin. How? You must never over indulge, you must always remember Whose you are, Who the Father is, and what His purpose for your life is.
That’s my opinion. Take it or leave it.