Question for discussion

If John Piper can drink orange juice to the glory of God - can we Ipod/Facebook/XFactor/PopIdol/Strictly Come Dancing/Billabong and Versace to the glory of God - or does it all have to go?

What rule of thumb should we use for being 'in and not of' the world?

Is an entertainment, sex-saturated culture a place where a Christian young person can live - or should we be seeking out remote Scottish islands to start a Christian home-ed commune on?


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16 comments:

  1. I seem to be the first one to comment! To reply to the last question...

    I think that some people probably are called to go into an isolated community and be relatively cut-off from the rest of thw world; and if that is what they have been told by G-d, they need to obey. It *is* very tempting sometimes but I think for most people (those who haven't specifically had a calling placed on their lives) it's the coward's option - we have a job to do and we can't shirk it.

    The Great Commissioning in Matthew 28 is to go and make disciples and if we were all trying to live in the remote parts of Scotland, we couldn't effectively evangelise to everybody else. On Judgement Day, the Body of Messiah is going to be held responsible for the amount of evangelism it has - or hasn't - done and I think we sometimes forget how many people *in this country* have never heard the true Gospel... It's easy to feel upset at the thought of your relatives going to hell but if we were truly concerned about all the billions of people in our country (let alone the world), we would be motivated by the Lord to do something!

    And we can't do it on our own. Although we can each do our bit individually, we have to come together and do it in groups and churches and such, to reach more people and be more effective. Most importantly, though, if we're doing God's work, we should get our orders from Him and not just working *for* Him but be in partnership *with* Him!

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  2. Isn't everything we do to be done to the glory of God as long as its not sinning? So, TV in and of itself isn't sinful and neither is music but sometimes the content of these things can be sinful and that is when Christians shouldn't watch or listen...

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  3. I would question the questions for discussion. First I would question what all of "Ipod/Facebook/XFactor/PopIdol/Strictly Come Dancing/Billabong and Versace" are doing as a category that everyone either should or shouldn't do. I would question this two ways. Firstly, while John Piper can drink orange juice to the glory of God, it could be that one recently converted from the cult of the orange-juice-drink-worshippers cannot at this point in their life drink orange juice to the glory of God. And my second question about this would be a question about whether saying that you can do them all to the glory of God, or that they all have to go, doesn't present a false dichotomy.

    This false dichotomy question persists in my mind when I read the second question.

    I think you are trying to get at the question of how one lives to the glory of God in a particular culture at a particular place in time - a great question. But for some it might seem as if the question is more like "should you eat celery soup for breakfast, or spinach cream cheese on bagels?" The answer to that might very well be "neither, actually, I think I'll eat Wheatabix to the glory of God."

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  4. Timothy, I'm afriad I am having trouble understanding what you're saying - would mind clarifying it for me, please? Are you saying that you think the glorifying if God isn't *what* we do but *how* we do it? Or that what might be fine for one poerson isn't for another? Or something else altogether? :-)

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  5. You can do and enjoy anything to God's glory as long as it does not compromise God's Word and lead to sin.

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  6. Tabitha, I apologise for being obscure. Your what/how question gets at a great point; and I would say that living wisely as a Christian involves both - it is what we do, and it is how we do it.
    I was also saying that what is fine for one person is possibly not for another. There are many areas (some of the things helpfully noted in the question, and more) where personal struggles and immaturity call for special care and constant prayer. Such struggles might mean "no facebook for me" (as it has for me at points over the last few years). While it might have been commendable that I dealt with my poor self-control by deactivating my facebook account, that was on a par with commending BP on doing a good job of clearing up an oil slick. It would still have been better not to have the oil slick in the first place. The broader point is of course that we can glorify God even in how we deal with our failings and failures; but that we glorify God most of all when we are like him - wise kings and queens being loving rulers of what our loving King gives us.

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  7. Thanks for the comments, everyone.

    I think that Megs and Regan are both spot on when they said that anything can be done to His glory if it isn't sin or against His word. We are to do everything to His glory- the little unimportant things like washing the dishes and the huge, vital things- like preaching the gospel.

    Tabitha, I think what you said about preaching the gospel is right too. We can't hide away from the job which God has commanded us to do. Yes, we are not to be of the world, but we sure can share our faith with it.

    As to the question "What rule of thumb should we use for being 'in and not of' the world?", the Word of God is always to be used as our guide for everything. Yes, it may not mention things like the list above by name- but the Bible is very clear on how sin displeases God. As Timothy said, what is sin to one person might not be sin to another. For example, if I am out until 10pm one night that isn't a sin, but for my friend to do that (whose parents have forbidden her from being out then) it can be, because she would be disobeying her God-given authority.

    Let us all become better at glorifying Him in whatever we do.

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  8. Timothy is right to suggest the first question presents a false dichotomy. Just because one person can do something to the glory of God, does not mean that another person can too. This does not apply to things sinful for everyone: (eg, sabbath breaking, murder, idolatry, etc -and things which innately include these things, for example music with sinful lyrics).

    Everything else, such as drinking orange juice, going out after 10pm, facebook(perhaps), must be examined in light of Gods laws and principles in relation to an individual situation. Examples would be the aforementioned ex orange juice cultist, actions which go against parents commands, and so on.

    Its important to remember that glorifying God does not consist of just keeping His laws pharisaicly but in joyfully keeping them in worshipful service of Him.
    Deuteronomy 28:47 explains why curses would come: 'Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;'

    In response to the second part of the question, although being a hermit on a scottish island might sound like a nice get away option, God does not call us to do that. Psalm 48 in particular demonstrates that Christs church is like a beautiful city, which is 'the joy of the whole earth,' etc; this doesnt sound like a community hiding away on a remote secluded island!
    Going to Matthew 5(esp 13-16) we see that we are to be 'light' and 'salt' in the world; -lets not hide our light under the bushel of seclusion...

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  9. Thanks for the reminder to be joyful in our serving God, Philip. We should indeed do everything "without complaining" (Phil. 2:14).

    Romans 12:1 says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." So, if we bear that in mind when considering the above question; if my body is to be acceptable to God, will it be acceptable when I wear Billabong clothes? Or will my mind be acceptable to Him whilst I'm watching the X-factor? Will my words be acceptable to Him as I Facebook? We need to see things in this light.

    One man was once told by his pastor to take Jesus to the cinema with him when viewing films, and when reporting back to his pastor, the man said "I left the cinema- Jesus didn't like the film". That may sound childish but let us seek to remember the verse in Philippians which says; "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." If you can measure your pleasures by things, then you will be glofiying God. We were made to glorify Him, let us do it as much as possible!

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  10. Timothy, thank you for the clarifying what you said - that makes sense now!

    Philip, I've looked up Psalm 48 and I was wondering how you were reading it to understand it to talk about Christ's church... Verse two, which you quote, spefically says 'Mount Zion' - so were you taking this to mean spiritual Zion and therefore Christ's church?

    Elspeth, what you said about the man going to the cinema makes absolute sense to me! My parents have always encouraged us to take that view with books and flims - would we be embarrassed if Jesus walked in when we were reading or watching whatever it was?

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  11. Hi,

    I was wondering whether, in refering to Billabong,
    you meant designer brands in general or just Billabong's style of clothing??

    Anna

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  12. Hi Anna

    I think 'Billabong' in the question is intended to stand for a general attitude of wanting to keep up with the latest designer fashions.

    Can we as Christians glorify God by following the latest fashions, or should we be dressing in a way which makes us stand out as different from the world around us?

    I hope this helps!

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  13. Thanks! Ok, I think it's ok to own designer clothes, but if you get the latest fashion from the most popular designer for extortionate prices, then it's not ok.

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  14. what do you mean sex-saturated? I am sorry but i dont really understand. would any one mind explaining it to me if it wouldnt be to hard? I dont want to be a bother, i am sorry if i have caused inconvience to any one with my misunderstanding.
    In Christ,
    Nataleigh Emma

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  15. Hi there Nataleigh Emma,

    By "sex-saturated" we mean a culture that is pursuing sex all the time. For example, girls today buy clothes which they think will attract men; hoping that will lead to sex. People buy films with sex scenes and people boast about their sexual practices to all their friends. These is the kind of people we are surrounded by in the UK, and that is what the question meant.

    I hope that answers your question! Thanks for leaving a comment =)

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  16. Thanks so much for answering my question Elspeth. I think it was quite silly of me to not understand it! But thank you for taking time to explain it. :) Thanks you set up this amazing blog, it is really helping me in my Christian walk.
    Love and Christs blessings,
    Nataleigh Emma ;)

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