I think one of the top challenges we as Born-Again Spirit Filled Christians face today is making sure we do not blend in. It is so easy to compromise the way we talk and the things we do that results in us not being distinctive.
Lyrics from a 1981 song from the group Petra, titled Chameleon
Chameleon - You blend with your surroundings
Chameleon - No one knows where you come from
Chameleon - You change with every situation
As Christians we are supposed to illuminate, to not just stand out, but represent the Light that all mankind needs to seek. Through what we say, how we speak, what we do, and where we hang out, we are supposed to represent Christ as he lives in us. Man it is so easy to get lost in this world and before you know it we look, sound, and live just like it.
I used to do a lot of clubbing in the 1990’s. I never drank alcohol but I did go to clubs and enjoyed dancing. I met a lot of great people. With them, in our one-on-one relationship I would talk about the Lord and how Christ was part of my life. The result was many really good conversations. Because of the one-on-one relationship and the nature of our discussions, they knew where I stood, or so I thought.
Now years later after I think about those years I realize I was not as “right” as I thought I was. I thought because I shared the Lord with them it justified my going out to clubs.
I do not believe for a moment I was called to go clubbing so I could be a witness. What drew me to the clubs were things of the world. Fortunately the Lord was a big enough part of my life that I spread his message to those people I met. For those choice few people a seed has been planted. Still I look back at that time and have concluded I let them and so many other people down.
See…only the 8-10 people I met had a chance to learn about how the Lord is part of my life. Now I realize I was still sending a mixed message. They saw no harm in me liking to dance and respected me for expressing what and whom I believe in.
What about all of those people that saw me at the club on the dance floor? By my actions, by my being there, by my having drinks (orange or cranberry juice), by dancing to music that spoke about sex, drugs, gangs, minimizing women and so on…did that show them that Christ is in me? Not in the slightest.
Yes I enjoyed myself and never drank. By looking at me you might be surprised to know I was a rather good dancer. I was a natural for hip-hop dancing. I was too large for doing any floor work but steps and body fluidity…I was actually good. I met club dancers from Milwaukee and Chicago and many loved my style. Often I was nick-named Heavy D, after the very popular rapper/dancer of the late 1990’s.
All of that was fun and good. Was I really doing what God has instructed me to do? No.
Many will twist and turn what I have shared and attempt to justify that it was ok. I was having innocent fun…whats the harm in that? Yeah…I used to say that too. That is what kept me in the clubs from 1990 to 1998.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them
I know of Christians that have been convinced that drinking socially is ok. As I have matured spiritually I am confident that social drinking is a poor witness and based on our love for God and desire to credit him in all that we do, social drinking is wrong.
God tells me I am not to be conformed to this world. In other words I am not to - give the same shape, outline, or contour to : bring into harmony or accord, according to Merriam-Webster.
God also tells me to not fellowship with unfruitful works but to reprove them. In other words I am to - to express disapproval of, according to Merriam-Webster.
Although Gods Word may not express that social drinking is a sin, I am not saying it is a sin. I am saying it is a poor witness. By being a poor witness we are not crediting God and sending a mixed message. God is not about confusion.
There are several religions that openly accept social drinking. People created religion (a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices) resulting in methodologies not in alignment with God’s Word.
Man-made religion is not of God. When I drink socially I do not create a distinction between my personal relationship with God versus a man-made religion. Therefore, I am giving a poor witness of Christ who lives in me.
1 Thessalonians 5:22
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
Social drinking may not be a sin, drunkenness is. When we are sitting and drinking socially do people that observe us really know that we are drinking socially or getting drunk? Are our actions clear in appearance?
When I went out to clubs did the people that observed me drinking know that I was drinking straight orange juice? I can tell you this, many would express to me that they were surprised that I was not drinking alcohol.
Many people would say to me that I must have had a couple to loosen up. They would say that they themselves could not get on the dance floor until they had a couple (meaning allowing alcohol to influence them). So they saw me as the same as them. They saw me as needing drinks in order to get on the dance floor. To them I was no different than them. I know now I was a very poor witness. I appeared just like the world.
This is not an attack, this is more of a statement of the revelation I have had as I have grown spiritually. I have referred to a topic in my past so I can include myself as having struggled with discerning myself to be different than the world. I have referred to social drinking because I know many Christians that struggle with that topic. There are many more topics that Christians struggle with in not being a Chamelon in this world we live in.
The bottom line is that the Enemy is focused on discrediting God. The question we must ask ourselves in the things we say, do, and act is – Are we crediting or honoring God?
I am confident the Enemy has many Christians fooled on debating the “sin vs. not a sin” aspect of some of the topics that challenge us as we attempt to follow Gods commands of distinguishing ourselves from this world.
I have read article after article that attempts to justify social drinking based on the focus that the Bible only refers to drunkenness (excessive drinking) as a sin and drinking in moderation is ok. I justified my enjoyment of dancing because it was fun, which it was. Like I mentioned earlier, I was dancing to music that promoted sex before marriage, violence, and defamation of women, drunkenness, drugs, and other ungodly topics.
Dancing and drinking in moderation may not be specified as sins in the Bible. Not following Gods command of not conforming to the worlds is disobedience and that is a sin. When I look back at those days in the 1990’s I realize now that I was not obeying Gods Word.
Yes I did meet people and to those people I shared Gods Word. Still when I think back I can’t help but think I brought forth a mixed message. I wonder just how effective my message was in talking about God then stepping on the dance floor and dancing to a song that spoke of sexual immorality, describing a sexual act of “smack it, flip it, rub it down”. ( lyrics from a song from the then popular Bell Biv Devoe). I am confident now that I discredited my witness.
So my thoughts and/or message to all of us struggling with distinguishing ourselves from the world, is to seek God’s wisdom in these matters and ask ourselves how what we are doing, saying, and participating in reflects on our witness of Christ.
I understand that some, maybe even many that read this will want to indulge in a debate. If someone wants to debate, their debate is not with me. This is a reflection of what God has put on my heart. Those that want to debate should talk to God to see what he puts on their heart regarding such matters.