I’ve been thinking about how we Christians are often permissive in accepting “grey areas” in our lives. Music, television, obsessions with celebrities and sports, clothing, art, sexual purity in dating, bad jokes, hobbies, violence in the media, politics, what we eat and drink, nationalism and rebellion as “a right of passage”. We even overlook things that are not grey at all: divorce, greed, self-ambition, rejection of the Holy Spirit, Hell. The term “grey area” is misleading. An appropriate term would be “weak sin” an even more appropriate term would be “sin”.
So, we’ve got an unofficial list of “grey areas” that we think we deserve and we’re not willing to give them up. We would need to come across a whole forest of burning bushes in order to give them up. We have scales on our eyes.
Last night I saw a movie that many of you may have seen. I sat and enjoyed myself; watching celebrities that I will never meet—but who I know more about and am more interested in than the majority of the people at my Corps—use crude humor, foul language and disgrace the covenant of marriage as they slept with whatever woman they could get their unmarried hands on. I sat and laughed and loved it. I have seen far worse movies than this one and I have tricked myself (or had been Tricked) into thinking that I deserve this kind of entertainment, even thinking that it is a “necessary” part of life.
God wants us to rest and give Him our burdens. This is true. Does rest = entertainment? When comparing God to the Enemy I realized that God does not entertain. God: loves, blesses and shows us His beauty. God creates community and fellowship, inspires us in worship and awes us in creation. God holds us, comforts us and calms us down. God gives us rest. He does not sit us down and tell jokes. He does not crowd us in a smoke-filled bar and play music. He does not make us stand in line and wait for Him to sign His book. He does not invite us to sit on a couch and praise a (largely unsaved) group of athletes or talk excitedly about the latest Hollywood hook-or-breakup. God does not do these things. So who does?
The problem is we don’t really hate our Enemy, the Devil, Satan, Prince of Darkness, Beelzebub, the Tempter. We think of him as a high school bully, if we avoid him, if we ignore him, if we give him what he wants he’ll leave us alone. This is not true. Our struggle is not against a bully but “against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:11-13). Our struggle is not against a fictional character but against a real being, a thief that “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:9-11). We are not fighting a myth. Our Enemy is real.
I do not condemn the grey areas (to declare guilty; to kill), I condone them (to forgive, pardon or overlook). That’s the problem, isn’t it? In the very least, if you or I as Christians said, “Because this (grey area) is questionable, I will not do it” wouldn’t we all be better off? Our Enemy hates us because he hates God. Though they are not equals the Enemy tries to contradict everything God does. The Enemy puts Hate vs. Love, Wrong vs. Right, Curses vs. Blessings, Isolation vs. Community, Fear vs. Hope. The Enemy distracts you from God.
We can get away with a lot as Christians, can’t we? The reason there are “grey areas” at all are not because they aren’t specifically spelled out in the Bible but because we really don’t fear God. We know Jesus. We know what he did on the Cross. We think that we can do what we want, come to a crisis point and always ask for forgiveness and repeat this cycle at our leisure. If 2 Corinthians 6:14 says that “light [has no fellowship] with darkness” what fellowship does light have with grey?
Are these areas even really grey? Think about it, not from God’s perspective (because you know Him) but through the eyes of our Enemy. What does your Enemy want you to do? Does he want you to watch that movie? Does he want you to tell or laugh at that joke? Does he want you to obsess over your wardrobe, your favorite sports team or your music? If you are willingly doing what your Enemy wants you to do, is he really your Enemy?
“5…All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:5-11).