“What does God think about clubs?” the text asked.
“Clubs???” I responded. Since the only clubs I regularly encounter are for golf or school, the question didn’t immediately register.
“Like the dancing/alcohol scene,” she replied.
Ooooohhhhh, that kind of club, I chuckled.
I don’t know of a Bible verse that forbids or approves of it, so I texted her what I do know, and God used the few random thoughts I sent her to remind me to apply the same scriptures as a litmus test for questionable ideas, circumstances, relationships, forms of entertainment, and other situations in my life and with my children.
We will never escape our flesh, the devil, or the pressures of this world to conform to its ways. Satan knows what’s at stake when God’s people live holy, set-apart lives: God’s faithfulness to His promises are on full display, and the gospel is preached from the platform of their lives. It’s exactly what God wants, and the very thing the devil schemes to destroy.
Holy living matters, and the Bible tells us how. When it doesn’t specify a do or don’t, hold up whatever is in question to these scriptures and see if the Lord doesn’t make His answer perfectly clear.
Fool-Proof Life Litmus Test
1. The Bible tells us that while everything is lawful, not everything is beneficial. Not all things are helpful or edify (I Corinthians 10:23).
ASK: Is it beneficial to you as a believer?
2. We are to avoid being a stumbling block to others. In addressing controversy among the Corinthians about eating things offered to idols, Paul explains Christians are free to eat what they want, but “beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak”(I Corinthians 8:9). In other words, if exercising our freedom has the potential to cause another to fall into sin, it is best for us to decline. Likewise, in I Thessalonians 5:22, Paul admonishes believers to “abstain from all appearance of evil.” Even if we are not participating in a questionable behavior, being certain places or with certain people may give the appearance that we are.
ASK: Even if I’m not doing anything unbiblical or wrong, will my presence or participation send a mixed message, appear permissive, or seem evil to someone else who might consequently stumble?
3. Jesus asks His disciples in Mark 8:36-37, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Nothing the world offers – no experience, possession, position, or relationship — is worth the eternal price of one’s soul.
ASK: Will this exact a price of my or another’s soul?
4. I tell my kids that one of my most important jobs is to help them recognize and avoid slippery situations. If they shun slippery circumstances, they’re less likely to slip. No matter how old we are, “evil company corrupts good habits” (I Corinthians 15:33). In the same way, even the best intentions and strongest convictions can be compromised when we expose ourselves to people, situations, and environments that stir our fleshly desires, for “when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:15).
ASK: Is it going to put me on slippery ground with my thoughts, relationships, or future?
Once we are saved by grace alone through faith in Christ alone, to do or not to do isn’t a matter of salvation. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that there’s nothing we can do to earn, keep, or lose our salvation!
So why do these things matter? In liberty, why can’t we just do what we want? Why should we concern ourselves with these narrow-road issues that can be so difficult to navigate and set aside the instant gratification of our flesh in those moments when we’d rather detour onto the wide road for a stretch?
The same Bible that instructs us in how to live our daily lives gives us a glimpse into the heart of the Lord toward His children when they listen and obey. He created us to love and worship Him, uncompromised and undivided, and to bring Him glory; when we do, there is so much He desires to lavish upon us!
The “if you…then I” correlation of obedience to blessing is not a name-it-and-claim-it system for manipulating God for what we want, and the blessings of God aren’t always or exclusively economic, but clearly, God’s favor follows God’s people when they diligently observe all His commandments (Deuteronomy 28:1-14):
- We will be blessed wherever we go.
- His favor will be upon everything we do, produce, and own.
- Our enemies will be defeated before us.
- We will have plenty.
- The treasures of heaven will be open to us.
- We will lend and not borrow, lead and not follow.
The way is simple: obey. It’s just not always easy.
Lord, we commit to obeying Your word today, becoming more wholly Yours, because we love You and want Your name to be glorified. Use the platform of our lives to preach the gospel, even when the choice to obey is a difficult one.