“Many Christians today insist that the keys to living a moral life are not drinking, not smoking, and not having extramarital sex. While avoiding these indulgences may help one to have a healthier body and avoid emotional baggage (benefits God surely wishes us to enjoy), do such omissions really help one be more Christlike? How much more discipline and faith does it require to actively give of one’s time and resources for the less fortunate? To practice selflessness and peace? Which would God prefer? What does the Lord require of us, but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God?”
This intrigues me because I feel that Christianity is often posed as a list of things that one CANNOT do, as she has listed. Yet sometimes, I feel that what gets left out are some of the other things: HOW to love thy neighbor as thyself, HOW to worship God in spirit and in truth, HOW to seek God with our whole heart, HOW to trust in the Lord with all thine heart. Are those not as valuable as the list of “cannots”?
I suppose the argument would be that your actions reflect an inward change, and that if one has TRULY been born again, then they wouldn’t take part in such activities, and that their actions would indeed reflect that they know Christ. But in all honesty, that’s not for me to judge. I’ve got my own issues that I’m trying to improve on and settle with the Lord before we have our meeting.
We’re currently in the Lenten season, and I’ve heard different people express to me what they are giving up this year as to be mindful of the sacrifice of Christ. While that’s cool, before I give up anything, I always think back to something that my former pastor told me. He said that during the Lenten season we have a tendency to give up something that is indeed a sacrifice, but not necessarily something that will make us a better Christian. If we are going to go through with this sacrifice, we should do so with the goal of becoming a better Christian. So, giving up chicken or chocolate may be a sacrifice, but will you be closer to God after it’s over? Just a thought…
And for the record, I don’t have the answers on how to live a moral life. I just try to follow the Lord and do the best that I can.