Last Sunday, I visited a certain church for the first time. (I wrote this quite a while ago so that makes it four months ago). The head pastor introduced a fellow pastor and his first statement, (after introducing himself) was ”since I came to Ghana I have seen different types of Christianity but I pray every member of this church reflects the true image of Christ”. This is what he was really driving at; are we allowed to do anything culture permits as long as we can tag along as Christians?
I’m not about to spell out another list of commandments lest I myself fall victim to it BUT…..the greatest asset we have on earth as Christians is the Holy Spirit. He convicts us and helps us. He speaks to our desires and breaks them when they are not in line with Gods word. Let me testify for a minute…. I got so comfortable in my past relationship. I didn’t find anything wrong with some things anymore. ‘Oh its just kissing‘. I mean each time I heard a preacher talk about sexual attractions in relationships, I justified my conscience by telling myself ‘its just kissing. Others are having sex‘ but any time I allowed him kiss me in a way he was not supposed to I knew it was wrong.
A few weeks ago (that makes it months ago) I was listening to a message by Paul Washer ‘Is God at work in your life’ and he made some alarming statements to the youth in America. Let me share.
‘You live in a land that has a deadly deception, a land where everything glitters but is not gold. A land that tells you, you can have God and the world at the same time.’ Well I’m not American but I see their culture seeping into a very African nation like Ghana. We’ve been made to think we can keep drinking as long as we don’t get drunk. Make out in our relationships as long as it’s not sex. Hang out in ungodly places as long as we aren’t doing anything ‘bad’. Use foul language in our conversations as long as we can put in the ** as an attempt at moderation. What happened to Psalm 1? Ephesians 5? 1 Corinthians 15:33, Ephesians 4:29. Shall we re-write these portions of scripture to suit our respective cultures. Again, I’m not giving a new set of commandments or telling anyone what is sin or whats not. What I am saying is, we are required to grow in our journey as Christians. When something feels right you know it and when it doesn’t feel right you know it too. It’s a powerful thing to be prayerful and spiritual in church but everything we do outside the four walls of the temple speaks even louder of our spirituality. We aren’t Christians because we preach the gospel. We are because we live the gospel.
Bishop Dag Heward Mills puts it best; ‘there’s a christian version of everything’. Music, books, fashion, entertainment, relationships etc. Don’t begin to think we can mix them up. What the world offers is not godly. Plain truth is, one day we’d all stand before a powerful God who will not give up His justice for His Mercy. The God who gives us grace that justifies us also gives us the grace that sanctifies us and causes us to repent.
Charles Spurgeon gives a beautiful illustration of our salvation.
Imagine to our left we have a plate of the most wonderful food imaginable and to our right, a can of garbage. If we released a pig out of its sty, our best bet is that it is going to stick its head into the can of garbage. Why? because it’s a pig and pigs love garbage. Its going to eat it and love what its eating. Now lets assume by the snap of a finger we can automatically convert that pig into a man. Immediately its going to pull its head out of that garbage. He’s going to throw up everything he ate. Its going to make him sick to himself. He’s going to be ashamed at the sight of another man. No offense there but that sort of describes our conversion into Christ.
We were by nature born sinners and didn’t want the good food of God but when we were converted we were changed into a new man and can no longer stomach the things of this world. Don’t get me wrong. It is possible to fall and stick our heads back into the can but the moment you do, you know its wrong. The moment you take a bite it makes you sick. That is how we know God is working in us. When God is at work in us, we can see growth. It’s not about getting there because there isn’t any ‘there’ in the first place but growing in our journey is a good sign enough that God is working in our lives.