I had an interesting “discussion” w/ another single man in a Bible Study recently, I write “discussion” in quotes because it was anything but & it actually tied into a another “discussion” I had online w/ a worship leader recently.
The topic(s) were [separately] purity then reverence in worship but ultimately it was all about integrity & consistency. There were actually three interesting conversations I've had recently...
The First Topic: Purity
This Believer I was talking to said he wouldn't watch any movie that had nudity, sex scenes, adultery, etc, citing the verse “I will put nothing wicked before my eyes”. Though I secretly agreed w/ him in principle, I thought I'd test him & see how far he was willing to defend his beliefs, so I responded, “you're a hypocrite”.
“What? I'm not a hypocrite!”
“Yes you are, you're a first class hypocrite”
“How I am a hypocrite?”
“You just admitted you were”
“I did not, how am I a hypocrite?”
“You just said you won't watch any movie or tv show that has this stuff (sex, adultery, etc) in it, does that apply to books to?”
The conversation took a decidedly heated turn…
“I AM NOT A HYPOCRITE!!!”
“You read your Bible every day, right?”
“You bet I do”
“The Bible contains the following: nudity, sex, incest, rape, adultery, seduction, witchcraft, human sacrifices, demon worship, even cannibalism & you allow that in you; so you either apply your standards across the board, 24/7 to everything or your standards are fluid which makes you a hypocrite. So which one is it & which one are you?”
“THAT'S THE WORD OF GOD!”
“I'm not arguing that. The topic at hand is your standards; do your standards apply to everything you watch & read? Either they do or they don't”
So before fists & Bibles started flying I diffused the conversation by saying I agreed w/ him that we need to be careful what we allow in us but if I was an unbeliever or a new Believer, how would he respond to me & how would he come across?
The Second Topic: Self–Control
So I was talking to a married elder of a fellowship I know of in the area & the topic of self–control came up, I started it & it went something like this:
“So is the fruit of the Spirit temporary?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean is it only for certain people at certain times?”
“No, it's for all Believers all the time”
“So you're saying that single Believers have to have self–control but married Believers don't?”
“So once you're married self–control goes out the window? You no longer have to practice it?”
“I would never deny my spouse… do you have a problem w/ self–control?”
“No, I tap into grace but why don't you?”
“I don't have to, I'm married”
“So you're saying self-control is temporary, it's conditional; it's based on your condition: single it's essential, married it's optional”
“Something like that...”
The conversation got more & more uncomfortable but it got him thinking about some things: the freedom he has in marriage & the pressure/standards that single people have to live up to. Sometimes I think single Believers are so much more stronger than married Believers are, they have to be, they have no choice...
The Third Topic: Worship
Worship, whether individually or corporately, is a very touchy topic; everyone has their own ideas of what it is/isn't, what it should/shouldn't be. Visit a few online Christian forums & you'll the see spectrum of views, it's interesting…
People who wear suits or dresses on Sunday mornings look down on those who don't.
“You wouldn't dream of wearing jeans when you meet the President, would you? You would wear your best clothes to a wedding or funeral right? Why would you think it's okay to dress casual in the House of the Lord? Why would you come in late, sipping coffee?”
“Do you wear a suit or dress when you're having your home devotionals or personal worship time? Are you drinking coffee or tea during these times? If you're not doing something personally why are you doing it corporately?”
I've been waking up around 3:30 am lately & my favorite time of the day is 4:45 am; I sit in the semi-dark, sometimes just a candle as my only light, w/ a hot cup of coffee & just sit there in my bare feet & jammies... in the quiet, quietly meditating/worshiping… gently sipping my coffee… do I do that in corporate worship? No, but I don't condemn those who do drink coffee while worshiping in a corporate gathering. I don't pass judgment either on those on the worship team who take their shoes off.
So this worship leader was having a fit over what he perceived was a lack of reverence in the modern worship setting.
People in other countries are literally losing their heads over their faith in Jesus & some people here in America are losing their minds over bare feet, jeans & coffee in corporate gatherings of Believers.
I highly doubt that any Believer is going to put on their best suit or best dress for their personal morning or evening devotionals.
Reverence is a matter of the heart & only God knows who reverences Him. So I asked this worship leader if he applies his standard to only Sunday mornings or if it applies 24/7. He was incensed at the question & went ballistic on me.
I'm finding these mindsets in many Christians nowadays, their standards & beliefs appear to be inconsistent, rather fluid & when their beliefs are challenged, they become unnerved or unhinged; don't be fooled, people pick up on that, especially unbelievers & it comes across as hypocrisy.
Are your standards/beliefs/practices active 24/7 or are they fluid?
Are they conditional (based on your condition) or apply across the board?
Are you passing judgment on people who worship in a different manner than you?
Any thoughts on this?