As a Christian, I find it becomes increasingly difficult not to change standards when it comes to worldliness and being set apart from the world. Moderation in Christians seems to be a thing of the past. Christ calls us to be set apart. The parable of the Sower in Mark 4: 13-20 is a good example of how our worldly desires can choke our Christian life.
18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred. -MARK 4:18-20
It is the intention of our Savior that we have an abundant life. As Christians it is our duty to work faithfully, using our God-given talents and abilities. God wants us to be blessed and to prosper.
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. –JOHN 10:10
The problems start when a persons starts setting out to gain material wealth, and everything we do and think about is centered around getting. We then get caught up in the all to popular mindset of “get”, instead of the Christ-like mindset of “give”. We lose our desire to accept, obey and pursue God’s truth.
We were created with and given five senses by God. I believe we were given these to enjoy, experience, and take pleasure in physical things. Many people use the following scripture to condemn all physical pleasures:
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. -1 JOHN 2:15-16
I believe that all things must be done in moderation, and according to the Holy word of God. Not all physical things represent worldliness, but lusting after things is wrong. It is a sinful desire, and it can make us desire or use something in a way that is contrary to Gods law (that is set before us in the bible), or the purpose for which He created it.
Very few Christians today practice moderation in anything. Fashion, entertainment, tattoos, body piercing etc. get more provocative every day. It seems as though everyone is in a constant competition; everyone wanting to outdo the next person. We see the people of the church follow the crowd, and live according to the course of the world.
A particular issue that has been laid on my heart lately is modesty, and the way we dress as Christians. I have been asked to photograph quite a few weddings this year, and sadly I have had to decline many due to a modesty issue. I do not wish to be associated with immodesty, and would not feel comfortable enhancing it in and through my photography. It is not easy to explain my reasoning to people, but I pray that God will bless my decision, and I believe He does if we are faithful to His word and to our convictions. I believe we as Christians must be modest in our dress. To think that we are created in God’s image… that alone should convince us to treat our bodies with the utmost respect. The body of those that have repented and accepted the gift of salvation is a temple of God; a dwelling place for His Holy Spirit. As a 25 year old I would be considered old fashioned, and would likely be mocked by those around me for quoting this scripture:
8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; 9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. -1 TIMOTHY 2:8-10
I remind myself of this scripture often, as I am very far from perfect, and all the words I have have written thus far is as much a reminder for me, as for any other reader. With so many social outlets, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc., I see so many young girls/ladies flaunt themselves daily with provocative pictures. It saddens my heart, and we will all be accountable to every photo, word, thought, when we stand before our Heavenly Father.
Christians cannot be of the world, even though we must live in it. We have to practice moderation in all things, so we can be a light to those who have not yet seen the Glory of God through repentance and salvation. I pray that this will have encouraged you to let God’s word direct and guide every thought, and activity in which you engage. If we do this, we will build Godly character, and practice balance and moderation in all we do. Let us live with a mindset of “how far away do I need to stay away from this?” instead of “how far can we go?”. I pray that God will bless these words to those that read.
Be continually Blessed.