The last couple of weeks at CCT we’ve been learning about our Christian liberties from Romans 14. Specifically, we’ve discussed our responsibility to use these liberties wisely, and correspondingly to withhold judgment from our brothers and sisters in Christ as they freely exercise their own liberties. Fussing and feuding over one another’s convictions that remain within the clear boundaries of scripture can do tremendous damage to the body of Christ. Churches have split and ministries have been destroyed by the infighting of Christians over secondary, non-scriptural matters.
And though our liberties are fundamental to successful Christian living, I think that the American church needs to take an honest look in a long mirror for some much needed self-reflection. We have become deeply soiled by unchecked liberties. We are so liberated that biblical restraint seems quaintly strange within our ranks. You name the category, from entertainment choices to bedroom behavior, and the church looks almost identical to the secular culture.
But we all know that. This is not new information as we witness its manifestation daily. Mention our behavior problem to a group of Christians and you’re likely to get an apathetic yawn in return. Write about it and publishers are likely to refuse your manuscript as old and rehashed material. Christians behaving and looking like the secular culture doesn’t generate headlines anymore.
That is precisely the problem. We have become so much like the world that our common likeness with it no longer disturbs us or produces shame. It’s one thing to sin, but it’s quite another to be comfortable and casual about sin. And we are seeing the enormous and devastating effects as it plays out in the next generation of Christians. So many young people within the body of Christ don’t know how to blush anymore, because the filth of the world has become the filth of the church. Yet at a tender age they’ve lost their tenderness.
I don’t have a Facebook account, but a friend recently sent me a link to see the Facebook page of a Christian friend’s daughter attending a Christian college in southern California. I was shocked to see her favorite entertainment, music that I knew to be vulgar and the worst kind of rap. Lil’ Wayne took the top spot as she openly endorsed his sexually charged lyrics to the world. I naturally assumed that she was in a great deal of trouble with her Christian parents and her Christian school, and that she had become the primary subject of numerous prayer chains . But alas, she is neither the subject of pity or concern by her family or school; they assume that she is simply exercising her well assumed liberties in Christ.
Lil’ Wayne sings about sexual themes I can’t even write about in this blog, and he uses a level of profanity that effuses from the pit of hell. But a Christian young woman and a Christian family and a Christian School are seemingly okay with this uninhibited attachment and endorsement of a child of Satan by a professing child of God. The language and themes coming from this rap artist (they’re not really artists) used to get a person incarcerated in secular society. Even the world’s culture recognized that that type of behavior was destructive and needed to be punished. But now it’s casually accepted by Christians under the guise of freedom in Christ.
The Lord never intended us to use our liberty in Christ to sin or to advance the kingdom of darkness. He has given us freedom to live the Christian life as He directs us by His Holy Spirit. Because we have different gifts and abilities, no two people are going to serve the Lord identically on the path of righteousness. But all of us have to remain within the confines of God’s righteousness as He so clearly spells out in His holy word. Lil‘ Wayne’s lust-filled vulgarity has no place on that path.
Christians, we must wake up out of our indolent slumber! The world is crouching at our door waiting to devour us, and it will overtake us in our sloppy liberties just as easily as some form of direct opposition and persecution. Let’s heed the words of Peter, “Yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.” It’s time to clean up our act, submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and define our freedom in Christ by the word of Christ. Be Holy!