Tainted Love / I’m Gonna Let It Shine…?

I’ve recently (well, at the time of this draft, anyhow) had the pleasure of enjoying some time hanging out and catching up with some old friends. They’ve been my friends for a long time and even though we’re not as close as we used to be (which is an unfortunate reality of adulthood), I know I can count on them to be around if I were to need them.

As usual, we got into our old ways, exchanging that old familiar banter, joking around, and recalling old times. While we were going about what I would consider to be “routine” with them, I came to think about my testimony. Among the gathering was an old friend who was recently “born again” (and praise God for this). As some of my other friends brought up jokes which encroach on the broad or even toilet side of humor, I would join in the laughter and crack a few jokes in response here and there as I “normally” do. In that, I noticed that my new “brother” in Christ reacted quite differently than I. I think he was always a guy that didn’t really join the fray on that sort of humor, nor is he really a loud or outspoken person, but his actions there, especially for someone supposedly not too “old” in the faith, spoke volumes to me.

What was I saying in my joining in the laughter? In my actions, was I simply just falling in line with the person in the first half of Psalm 1? David urges us to not be that guy, and yet there I was, following the course of the world (Ephesians 2). Aren’t you supposed to be putting off the flesh? Doesn’t the Word say that we FORMERLY walked in this manner? Why do I so easily fall into old habits? I mean even though it may be argued to be a grey area in terms of my response to their jokes, it may actually be a little more black in white when you take passages such as Romans 14:13-23 and 1 Corinthians 8 (and 10) into account (different context, but same potential effects). Was my actions causing another brother to potentially stumble? Was my actions affecting my testimony as a so-called Christian? Scripture says to not let any “unwholesome” (NASB) or “corrupting” (ESV) word proceed from my mouth (Ephesians 4:29), and here I am, continually failing miserably in this area. All for the sake of what? Just to get a few laughs or for entertainment value? How does this reflect on God’s saving love in my life? So much for “this little light of mine”… (Luke 11:33)

 

I recently read 1 Peter 2 during one of my studies and in it, Peter tells us that we are a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for HIS own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (v.9). I am not my own. He urges us to keep our conduct honorable among those not of the flock, that they “may see your good deeds and glorify God in the day of visitation” (v.12). This is about God’s glory. With that in mind, I must take these matters seriously and with all reverence towards Him. I cannot fail Him in this manner. My conduct could very well affect my abilities to win or lose souls for the kingdom. God seeks out the lost. Is my conduct pointing them to Christ or leading them astray?


To those who may be happening to read this, I apologize for my sinfulness and ask for your forgiveness. I do look forward to the day that the Lord completes this good work in me (Philippians 1:6), but I need to strive to pursue holiness for His namesake. For His glory. Our sanctification is the will of God (1 Thessalonians 4).

May I be mindful of how I ought to walk. May I cleanse myself and be a useful vessel to the Lord, set apart, ready for every good work that He intends to use me for (2 Timothy 2). Though my sin no longer rules over my life, it does at times entice me entangle me. May the things of this world grow dimmer and dimmer in the light of Your glory and grace, Lord. May my struggles not hinder in my proclamation of Christ. May my life simply point others to Christ. He is our Rock, our Hope, our Strength and our Salvation. May my only boast be in You, O Lord. May You be glorified in my life.