How we dress.
An occasional cuss word.
Dunking or sprinkling to baptize.
A couple drinks of alcohol.
Using God-given gifts for worldly fun.
Watching shows with questionable material.
Playing games on our phones at work.
Harmless things, really. Or are they?
As a child, I did not go to movie theaters. Raised in a fairly strict Nazarene home, movie theaters were not encouraged, makeup and jewelry were at a minimum, alcohol was a big no-no, there were certain “bad” words (not cuss words, mind you – just “bad”) that were not allowed in my vocabulary, and the TV channel may be changed at any given moment.
Some people applaud this kind of child-rearing while others scoff at it or blame such rearing for teenage rebellion. As in ANY family unit, life was not perfect for me as a child in a strict religious home. I felt uncomfortable talking with my parents about certain subjects, my parents often seemed unbending and close-minded, and I grew up with some guilt, feeling that everything I did or thought could be sinful.
HOWEVER, I have many good things to say about my childhood:
- I had no doubt God loved me and that my parents loved me too.
- I may have felt guilty about doing/saying/thinking certain things, but I THOUGHT about my behaviors and weighed out my decisions rather than pouncing about making all the wrong decisions thoughtlessly.
- I knew that worship in a body of believers is very important.
- I learned that truly ANYTHING could be a stumbling block if it is allowed to come between our heart and God.
- I learned to RUN from temptation (though this one took me a while). Remove it! Change the channel, keep your conversation in check, avoid things you know you are tempted with.
“Therefore, my dear friends…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
With all these things I learned from my parents, I also discovered that we each have to work out our own salvation with our Heavenly Father. The Bible is very clear on many subjects, but some things are between you and God. I believe He will tell us right from wrong (called discernment) if we will be open to His prodding. Some of us just don’t want to listen to that still, small voice. What may be fine for you may be wrong for me…. When in doubt, talk to God and then obey.
If you read the old testament, there is a lot of talk about circumcision. What it really boils down to is separating ourselves. Being made holy by letting the Holy Spirit truly dwell in us and lead us in our daily lives. The fancy word for it is sanctification.
There is a balance. Jesus prayed that we would not be taken from this world but that we would live in it as His light and as a witness for Him, sharing His love and the Word wherever we go.
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”
John 17:15-19 NIV
I do not want to look like or sound like this world. I want to look like Jesus! If He is Lord of all in my life, then others will see Him in me. That’s my goal!
Quack and walk like a duck….er…um….talk and walk like Jesus!