During prayer group this week, we were reading a prayer letter from a missionary in Antigua who told the story of a man who did not want to get saved until he had had his fun. This unsaved man know that to be a Christian meant a radically different life from that of the world. That is what being a Christian is.
If you look at American Christianity throughout history, there has been a dramatic progression from having a noticeably different lifestyle to just blending into a crowd. This is due, not to a lack of true regeneration, but to a blurring of the line of what is good and what is bad. There is now what is called "a gray area" of "not that bad". Why is "not that bad" acceptable? What is the "that" that we are comparing our actions/words/entertainment choices on?
When you are first exposed to the sun at the beginning of the summer what happens? Initially, you will get burned. It hurts and you notice it and shy away from it. But sunburns don't last forever. For three months, though, you are being exposed more and more to the burning rays, and yet you don't get burned. You get more and more tan. Eventually, it can get to the point that you don't even see that you are tanned and spending hours outside no longer causes the pain it once did. It's only when you return from your vacation and come in contact with those who worked desk jobs all summer and are still pasty white that you see how far it has gone.
So think of sin in the same way. The first time you heard a curse word or profanity in a movie (and actually knew what it meant) were you surprised? Did it cause a bit of pain? But you were watching the movie with your family or close friend... and they thought it was fine... Or at least they didn't say anything about it.
Fast forward five years. Now you regularly watch movies with "questionable" (sinful) content. But it's only rated PG13! Or maybe even PG... But there is so much worse out there right now. This movie really isn't that bad.
I heard a sermon at camp about David. He was a man after God's own heart, but how was he so? In 1 Samuel 24, twice David sinned. Both times they were things that aren't that bad, and yet it says that his heart smote him. He felt the pain of sin. Instead of excusing it since it wasn't that bad, he repented and did not repeat the sin. In Psalm 101 we find his plan to stay away from sin:
Psalm 101 I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.
I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.
Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.
He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.
Because of Him,