I have noticed a trend among many of my Christian peers which really disturbs me. I’ll share with you a story of an experience I had last year, and then get on with my point.
One Friday afternoon, I was invited by a couple very good friends of mine to join them and a larger group of people they knew from a church singles group. We were meeting that evening at a Mexican restaurant. I love good Mexican food, so I decided to join my friends. I figured we would be sitting at a long table and enjoy a good meal. Much to my surprise, I got there, and everyone was in the bar. OK, maybe they’re in there waiting for said long table to be ready. There were TVs in there, so maybe it was just an easy place for a large group to hang out while waiting. As it turned out, nobody but my two friends and I were there for the food. The margaritas were flowing and the tequila was taking its affect. At one point, one of the guys was going around the group asking who wanted to do shots with him. As they got louder, the other patrons were noticeably annoyed by the conduct of the church group. Once the festivities at the bar were concluded, the group made its way across the street to a nightclub for dancing, and presumably more drinks. My friends and I, instead, decided to finally have our Mexican dinner with some great conversation.
This story is a sad, and all-too-common example of what I’m seeing among many of my Christian peers these days. I see so many who treat their relationship with God like a day at work. When they’re in church, like the office, they do their duty. They sing the songs, they nod in agreement with the sermon, and they bow their heads properly when they pray. But when quitting time comes, it’s off to the party! We hear their profanity. We see their attitude towards others. There is nothing that distinguishes them as Christians when they’re “off duty”. Nothing identifies them as people who have been transformed by their relationship with Christ.
When Christians behave badly, the world notices. In fact, the world is quick to point it out to us. They call us hypocrites. We must understand the world wants us to be different. The insults that come our way when we fail is because we preach that we’re different, but act the same. The world needs us to be different. We should stand out in a crowd. How can we tell people of God’s life-changing love for us if we haven’t changed? If someone was in that bar because they were struggling with their circumstances, how could someone have entered into a conversation to tell them of God’s transforming love while gulping down shots? How can we expect others to want what we have if we’re doing the exact same things they’re doing?
The truth is, at one time or another, we all have been guilty of justifying sin in our lives. We have no problem pointing our finger and words of disgust at sin with which we have no struggle, while giving safe haven to some other destructive behavior in our own lives.
If you like a glass of wine with dinner, no problem. If you like to listen to music and dance, that’s nice. But if you have become a chameleon, simply blending into whatever setting you’re in, it’s time to do something about it. If you’re trying to do a balancing act between worlds, you cannot and will not experience the full benefits God intends for you. Submit yourself, truly, to God. He will not only give you a taste for His will and desires, but He will give you a distaste for the things which are harmful and unfruitful.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.