Can I Still _____ Now That I'm a Christian?

Can I Still _____ Now That I'm a Christian?

by Rachel Gregg

So, you just met Jesus…and you have an iTunes library that is 75% songs with explicit lyrics.

…and a subscription to CollegeHumor on YouTube.

…and a secret (or not-so-secret) desire to get a tattoo.

…and a fraternity party invitation for next Friday.

What do you do?

Does following Jesus mean you’re not free to have fun anymore? That you can only hang out with Christians, have to take out your nose ring, and must surrender all your favorite music?

When Jesus asks you to follow him wholeheartedly, now that you have been “bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20) and are adopted into his royal family, obligations and rules are not the best ways to cast these questions.

Following Christ is not a question of, “Can I still _______?” or “Do I have to _______ now that I’m a Christian?” There are far more important questions to be asking.

InterVarsity Staff Jeff Yourison poses these questions instead: “Who owns my body? What or who determines my choices?” When your actions reflect the character of the God you serve, God is pleased.

Some people believe they have the freedom to drink alcohol, while others don’t feel that freedom. Some people feel released by God to get a tattoo or piercing, and others believe that to be wrong. It can be hard to sort out the difference. Ultimately, this is an issue you have to bring to God.

While your decisions are between you and your heavenly Father, it is wise to consider how others will be affected, says InterVarsity staff trainer Laura Vellenga.

“My freedom doesn’t allow me to stick everyone’s noses in it,” Laura says, “especially if they don’t have that freedom.”

Tim Honeycutt, a campus intern with InterVarsity at University of California – Davis, remembered the time he spent praying and seeking the counsel of others before making his decision to get a tattoo. His design idea centered around a spiritual experience he had at a conference.

“I knew it would be a reminder of the steps I had taken with God,” Tim says, “but a tattoo is not an end in itself.”

Other InterVarsity staff have intentionally chosen not to get tattoos and piercings:

“I wanted to be able to work in any context without fear of causing the Christians around me to stumble,” one said. This concern is legitimate: Just as some Christians adamantly believe that tattoos are a right for Christians, some also believe that they are wrong.

1 Corinthians 10:23-24 says, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.”

As a follower of Jesus, you are charged with asking good questions of yourself and of others. The questions you ask can better honor God’s ownership of your body and soul. It creates a perspective of choosing good stewardship for God’s kingdom.

Important questions to ask:

  • Will your choice re-open a door for Satan to press you down?
  • Will you be living with guilt rather than in grace?
  • Will this action cause you to lose control of yourself or put a veil over your ability to respond promptly to the Holy Spirit?
  • Does this behavior, choice, or attitude represent your role as an ambassador for the kingdom?
  • Does this behavior cause others to stumble or to be attracted to Jesus?
  • Are you caring for your body and soul—and others’ bodies and souls—in ways that God delights to see and that bring him glory?

God is a good dad who is concerned with all aspects of your life. He’s not following you around with a checklist scrutinizing your every move. He cares that you are considering what he wants and how your actions affect others.

It’s all about asking the right questions.

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Growth Sin