How can a Christian know what he may or may not do? Is it all right for a believer to go to dances or to the theatre, to play cards, to smoke, to drink, to listen to rock music or to participate in other worldly pleasures and amusements? 1 John 2:15 tells us to “Love not the world.” This verse does not mean that we should hate this planet on which we reside or the people who inhabit it. It refers instead to the world's value system. We should not allow the same values that dictate conduct to the world's inhabitants to dictate what we should do.
Many young converts are troubled by questions similar to the above. They find that certain practices are clearly condemned in the Bible, but that there are many others, which are not mentioned. It is the purpose of this lesson to provide the student with a series of standards that may help him to decide whether or not he should engage in a questionable activity. One question you should ask yourself is “Would Jesus do it?”
A. First of all, is it distinctly forbidden by the Lord for believers today?
If it is, avoid it as you would a deadly plague. If you do not know, don't do it until you have had a chance to find out. I Thessalonians 5:22.
B. Then, is there any glory for God in it?
In I Corinthians 10:31, we read this plain statement: "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." Before you engage in the activity in question, can you honestly ask for God's blessing upon it, believing that He will be honored through your participation?
C. Is it "of the world" is also a very important question? 1 John 1:16 says, "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 of this world." If the conduct appeals to the flesh, or if it is what you want rather than what God wants, or if it causes you to be prideful, then it is probably not for you. It is not of Christ.
He said concerning His disciples, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." John 17:16. He was not "of the world" at all. He was in it, but not of it. I John 2:15-17.
D. Would the Lord have done it? He has left us an example that we should follow in His steps. I Peter 2:21.
E. Would you like to be found doing it when the Lord returns?
Someone has wisely remarked, "Don't do anything, say anything, or go anywhere that would cause you shame if the Lord should come!" I John 2:28.
F. Can you feel free to do it when you remember that God the Holy Spirit
dwells within you?
"Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" I Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 4:30.
G. Is it fitting conduct for a child of God?
When a king's son acts in an unworthy manner, he brings disgrace on his father's name. So does the Christian who behaves in an unbecoming way. Romans 2:24; Colossians 1:10.
H. What effect will your conduct have on others?
Will it be a good testimony to the unsaved, or will they decide that there is really no difference between a Christian and an unbeliever? II Corinthians 5:17. Also, will it cause someone who is young in the faith to stumble? The Apostle Paul warned us that no man should put "a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way." Romans 14:13.
I. Finally, is there the least bit of doubt in your mind about it?
If so, then don't do it, for "he that doubteth is damned condemned) . . . for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Romans 14:23.
In connection with this subject of what a Christian may or may not do, it is well to remember that "we are not under the law, but under grace." Romans 6:14-15. This does not mean that we may do as we like, but rather it means we want to do what God likes because He has done so much for us. We do not avoid a worldly lifestyle because we have to, but because we want to. The reason we want to is because Christ died for us, and now our ambitions are to live in a manner that will please Him. II Corinthians 5:14-15. God does not say, "If you keep away from sinful pleasures, you will be a Christian." But He does say, in effect, to the believer, "You are a Christian! Now live in a way that is consistent with your high calling." Ephesians 4:1. It is possible that a Christian may forget his dignified position and go in for the things of the world. In such a case, God will bring him back by loving correction, just as a shepherd brings back a wandering sheep by placing his crook around its neck. Thus, if God's grace is forgotten by the believer, he will be restored by God's government.