This has been a busy summer for our culture. Same sex couples received the right to get married. Planned Parenthood was outed as a seller of baby parts. Bruce Jenner changed his name and his body parts and insisted everyone call him Caitlyn. And, most recently, a teenage boy with gender confusion demanded that he be allowed in the girls’ locker room.
There is much going on in our nation, our culture, our churches, and our homes that is overwhelmingly confusing to many of us. As Christians, we sometimes feel caught between a rock and a hard place: we want to gently share the love of Christ with people who are hurting, but too often our words can be hijacked by unbelievers with hateful agendas, and then used as ammunition against us.
This blog post is not about unbelievers hijacking conversations on social media. That’s a topic for another time.
What this is about is Christians trying to lovingly and compassionately uphold holiness as the standard by which we are called to live, without being scolded, maligned, slandered or vilified by other Christian brothers and sisters.
I recently read a social media post from a Christian to other Christians that was along the lines of (and I paraphrase) “before you continue with your chest-thumping and moral indignation, why not consider whether you would have the discipline to live the life you are asking other people to live for the sake of holiness.” (italics mine)
Have we arrived at the point where it is too much to ask of professing Christians to forfeit anything, especially momentary happiness, for the sake of holiness?
What is the real issue here? Is it discipline? Self-control is the foundation of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). We have no excuse for not exercising it. Are we as Christians exempt from self-discipline even though we aren’t good at it? No. We are called to discipline our bodies as athletes competing for the prize.
Is the issue happiness? Happiness is a fleeting emotion that is a response to our external circumstances; and those circumstances can change on a dime. We are called to learn to be content in all circumstances (Philippians 4:12-13). Discontent is our default emotional state, but we have the Spirit within us to change our sinful nature.
Is the issue holiness? Have we forgotten that when we become children of the One True God, God calls us to holiness?
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” – 2 Timothy 1:9 NIV
Our destiny is holiness – is there anything that is too much to ask for the sake of holiness? If we are unhappy, isolated, or lonely, if we suffer illness, poverty, Alzheimer’s, infertility, or __(you fill in the blank)__ isn’t it sufficient to know that God is in control, God has allowed our circumstances for his own purpose and God gives us sufficient grace to live holy lives in our circumstances?
Dare we use the Word of God to point the way to holiness? Or is holiness too much to ask of anyone?
“My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” – James 5:19-20 NIV
Do we believe the Bible is God’s final word? Or have we as the Bride of Christ decided that it is easier and more loving to let people, our Christian brothers and sisters, live however they want as long as they are happy? Have we become “ear-ticklers”?
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” — 2 Timothy 4:3
As Oswald Chambers says, “The preaching of the gospel awakens an intense resentment because it is designed to reveal my unholiness, but it also awakens an intense yearning and desire within me. God has only one intended destiny for mankind – holiness. He did not come to save us out of pity — he came to save us because he created us to be holy.”
If we remain fearfully quiet, are we allowing our brothers and sisters who have been swept up in the current of the culture to swim, and possibly drown in a sea of pity? Shouldn’t we encourage every Christian we know, starting with our own selves, to live holy lives, including holy sexuality, at any cost?
Is there any length to which you will not go for the sake of holiness? Are we living in a time when everyone does as he, or she, or zhe sees fit and holiness is cast aside? If holiness is no longer the goal for Christians– what is – and at what cost?