Recently, I heard a Christian say in reference to impure forms of entertainment, “Well, Christians should be careful, but I think that we should not just completely remove ourselves from worldly entertainment, because then we won’t know how to relate to people. If we don’t watch the same TV shows and movies that everyone else does, we will lose our influence because we will just look like out-of-date sticks in the mud.”
I immediately started thinking, “Okay, so I guess that means we should all be having extramarital sex, so we’ll relate to the world better. I guess we should all start using profanity so we’ll be up-to-date with everyone else—we’re watching it on TV anyway. I guess we should stop trying to make it a point to dress modestly—people will think we’re just old-fashioned.”
I didn’t say anything right then, because I was afraid it would be said out of anger instead of out of a loving, gentle spirit. I went home, frustrated, and thought even more about what she said. You see, God didn’t really beat around the bush when he told us to be different. He was very specific in His word about wanting his bride to be “without blemish (I Peter 1:19),” “a peculiar people (I Peter 2:9),” and “not conformed to this world (Romans 12:2).” Not once did he say, “Be careful that you don’t avoid sin so much that people think you’re weird.” Not once did he say, “make sure you participate in enough sinful activity to fit in so you can influence people.” God has made it painfully clear that he wants us to stand out. The only way that we will ever influence others for Christ is if they can see Christ when they look at us. Good luck ever trying to convert someone to Christianity after you’ve willfully participated in the same sinful activity as the world.
And as fuddy-duddy as it sounds, God wasn’t silent about our entertainment choices, either. No, they didn’t have movies, TV, or radio when any part of the Bible was written, but he was pretty clear about the kinds of stuff with which he wanted us filling our minds. “Abstain from every appearance of evil” (I Thes. 5:22) type verses are not exactly blurry.
I would love to say to all young people making an effort to live righteously: You’re doing the right thing. Christianity is an all-or-nothing endeavor. Don’t let anyone bully you into thinking that a full overhaul of self in order to fill yourself with Christ is “too much.” It’s not too much. It’s exactly what Christ asked of us.
I’m reminded of a poster that hung on my door all through high school and college and reminded me of why I was different. This is what it said:
I am a part of the “Fellowship of the Unashamed.” The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense and my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap giving and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, love with patience, live by prayer and labor with power.
My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable and my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up and spoken up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner is clear: I am a part of the “Fellowship of the Unashamed.”
Don’t just be a part-time Christian. Make it real. Make it everything.
Don’t let others confuse you. Don’t make excuses. Just live for God. Give Him all of you. 100%. If you don’t feel different, and if you don’t feel somewhat persecuted at times, you’re doing it wrong (II Timothy 3:12).
Isaiah 5:20 says this: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”
Don’t get the two mixed up.