In a world where it’s not “popular” or “cool” to stick to God’s word, how are we to walk away from situations we know aren’t right? In a world that glorifies worldly ideas and values, how are we to cling to truth and resist temptation? In a world that sees sin as “normal”, how are we to flee from the “norms” and live a life according to the gospel?
It is not easy, especially in today’s world.
You give the driver that cut you off in traffic the bird because you’re irked? Yeah, normal response.
You get wasted on your 21st birthday because it’s the “way to celebrate?” Yeah, it’s normal.
You curse? Yeah, it’s normal.
Take the Lord’s name in vain? Yeah, it’s normal.
But what does God’s word say about these social “norms”?
- James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
- Isaiah 5:22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:
- James 3:8-10 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
- Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Social norms are typically not Biblical; we see that in the verses above. In fact, some social norms could actually be seen as sin.
Sin is about “missing the mark.” God has clearly laid out in His Holy Word, the Bible, how we as Christians are to live our life. While the world may try to demean God’s word, question God’s word, and run from God’s word, we are called to read it, learn it, and act it because what is important is for us to know His word and what He says about sin. Knowing how God sees sin is far more important than how the world does. To the world, sin is normal. To God, sin is devastating. To God, sin is so devastating that 2000 years ago He sent Himself in the flesh as His son, Jesus, to die for all of our evil and sin so that we may be forgiven and have eternal life. THAT is how devastating sin is to God. While the world may try to write it off as “normal”, God clearly sees it as a wrongdoing that we need to stay away from.
However, we are human and we are all sinners. So, what are we to do?
Stand firm in Christ.
Stay away from sin.
There are 66 books in the Bible. With that many books to know and understand, there is absolutely no way any one person is going to be perfect, not sin, and not go against any part of God’s word; that’d be impossible. In fact, the Bible tells us there is not one of us who has not sinned and for someone to say they have never sinned is a sin itself.
What God has told us to do is to call upon the Lord, confess our sins to Him, and repent. Once we have had an experience of grace and are born again, God has cleansed us of our sins! He has covered your sins from yesterday, today, and tomorrow. But it does not stop there.
Personally, I’ve had an experience of grace where I repented for my sins and God forgave me. However, I am called to repent daily because I fall short of glory every single day. I’ve given into temptations and “norms” before and let me tell you I’ve felt pretty horrible about some of the words I’ve said, choices I’ve made, and things I’ve done. Thankfully, when we ask God for forgiveness, He is just to give it. Praise God!
So, does being saved mean we can live a life of sin just because we’re “covered”?
Let me refer back to James 3:8-10. In those verses, we see an unruly tongue that one second is praising the Lord while in another is cursing man. This cannot be. If we as Christians are trying to spread the gospel yet live by social norms, how is that going to come across to the lost that we’re trying to speak truth to? It’s going to look like a double-minded man which, as we see in the book of James, cannot stand. Such a person is “unstable.”
Once you have been born again, you are a new creation in Christ. You are to turn from your evil ways and to live a life according to God’s word. If along your walk you stumble, repent and keep going because God is a loving Father that forgives His children. Now, when temptations from the world and sin comes along, it’s not always easy to stand firm in Christ. The good news about that though is, one, if you call on Jesus for help He will provide you with the strength you need to resist it and, two, it will keep you out of sin and trouble. You can never go wrong with clinging to Christ.
If you feel silly or embarrassed for sticking to God’s word rather than rolling with the social “norms”, don’t. Remind yourself of who you are in Christ and that by clinging to Him rather than giving into social norms, you are glorifying Him.
It’s not always easy to stand up for what you believe, but, in those moments you want to give into social norms, press into God’s word. He will sustain you and give you the strength you need to resist. Surround yourself with people that will encourage you and keep you accountable. Lastly, read God’s word every single day. By reading His word you will draw closer to His heart, learn how to navigate this life with Him, and secure your foundation in His word which will help you resist the “norms” of this life.