Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Who Decides What Is Acceptable Behavior

I met a Christian the other day at a local church.  Very nice guy. He invited us to go to lunch with the group that goes most days after the service. That was nice. The Bible says “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24  I know a lot of people, introverted people mainly, struggle forming new relationships.  Mainly because they don’t show themselves friendly they are waiting for someone else to do it. So for those of you extraverts reading this, take note.  The introverts are counting on the extraverts, but the extraverts tend to hang with each other.  When you see someone who is not engaged, engage them. Ok, sorry – thought I saw a squirrel! 

But then he said something I thought odd.  He said “We tend to get a coarse in our conversation so you might not want to come.” I didn’t ask him what he meant by coarse, but we declined the invitation.  I did appreciate the warning.  It is not that I have led a protected life, I haven’t.  It is not that I cannot be coarse – just ask my old nature. On second thought – please don’t. It is that, as a Christian, when I associate with other Christians for fellowship, I don’t want to act like the world does.  

The Bible is pretty clear about what is acceptable and what is not.  Take time to read this – 

"Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.  Therefore do not be partakers with them. Walk in Light.  For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),  finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.  But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.”  Ephesians 5:1-13

What is it that you have decided is “OK” behavior that you know is not consistent with your new life.  Do you do it because the people you are friends with do it? You value their relationship with them more than your relationship with the One who saved you from hell? If you have any uneasy feeling – that may well be the conviction of the Spirit that is in you. It is God who has decided what is acceptable behavior and He has already told us what that is. Last thought on this. “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” – James 4:17  That doesn’t leave much wiggle room. Walk as children of the light.

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