Written By Rebecca Chan, Malaysia
It was just another day in class. During one of our lessons, I heard my non-Christian friend invite some of my Christian classmates to watch the American erotic romance film, 50 Shades of Grey. To my astonishment and dismay, my classmates got really excited and accepted the request, without (so much as) a second thought.
Later that day, I plucked up the courage to ask one of the guys (who used to serve in a Christian leadership position) why he would want to watch the movie, knowing it went completely against what God created love and relationships to be. “Well, it can’t really be that bad because the girl allowed the guy to torture her that way,” he said nonchalantly. I was astounded. Taking pleasure in watching these things was one thing, but to actually agree with the values the show propagated and deny that they were wrong was something else altogether.
His statement got me thinking about what it means to be a Christian in this day and age. Today, we face the challenge of compromising our Christian principles to get something we want, coming up with excuses to make ourselves feel better. We may feel that it is okay to use crude words and swear because “everyone else is using it.” Or to use God’s name in vain because “we’re not using His real name anyway.” Or to watch, read and indulge in witchcraft and wizardry because “it’s not real anyway.” Or to work on a Sunday for extra income because “I can always go to church next week, no biggie.” Or to support the LGBT movement because “God didn’t specifically use words like gay or lesbian anyway.”
But is it really okay? How does God feel about our compromise?
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3:16-27) were three young men who refused to bow to social pressure. With a powerful King threatening them, many nations watching them, a furnace seven times hotter than usual waiting to consume them, no one would fault them if they changed their minds. All they had to do was to bow down to an idol right? No big deal. All the other Jews were doing it, so why not just go with the flow? Isn’t majority always right?
However, these three men decided that they would not betray the God who saved His people and brought them out of Egypt. They would not disobey the God who provided for them in the wilderness. They would not reject the God who won the impossible battles for them. Instead, they chose to obey God—and as a result God was glorified.
Just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, let us obey God who suffered immensely to redeem us. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, our bodies are now a temple of the Holy Spirit. If God lives in us, if He dwells within us, shouldn’t we strive to live godly lives? Shouldn’t we do our best to please the one living inside us rather than those on the outside?
Standing by our Christian principles will not be easy. It will be like swimming against the tide. However, we are not alone and we are not without resources. God has given us His Holy Spirit to help us live a holy life. And He has given us His Word, which is a light for our path (Psalm 119:105). As we spend time reading and meditating on His Word, our minds will be renewed and we will no longer conform to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2).
So let us not take His grace and mercy for granted; rather may we strive to be everything He made us to be, living each day as if it is our last and as children who know God and want to make Him known.