A Lesson from HGTV

10 May

It was a lazy spring afternoon.  The Braves were playing a night game.  I had no options.  We had family in town, so I had to relinquish the one thing most men hate to give up . . . the remote.  I found myself in short order watching HGTV.  This particular program was about a couple buying a house (actually an apartment, an 1100 square foot apartment in a big city . . . for $350,000!!!).  I had some interest in this, somewhere between watching paint dry and watching a rerun of Little House on the Prairie.   

So we’re all there watching this couple haggle over price and look over the whole place and in the end they get their offer and are planning to move in.  HGTV even furnishes their living room as a housewarming gift.  There’s only one problem . . . this couple was not married and did not intend to be married.  They were just going to live together in this tiny apartment in the big city.

Now years ago this would have been a big deal.  This couple likely would have not been featured on such a show.  But I imagine that most people today would say, “so what?”  “Live and let live.”  In our age of tolerance the important thing is that they are happy.  And indeed, as a 20-something couple loaded with money, they certainly had all the outward appearances of happiness.  But happiness is not the issue.  The issue is living in obedience to God.  The issue is walking in holiness.  They’re living together without being married.  They’re violating God’s standards for sexual morality.  They’re not violating our society’s standards.  Few people care anymore about such things.  But they are violating God’s standards.

Many people would accuse me of sitting as a judge over this couple.  I say, I am not their judge, God’s truth is their judge.  But the point of this article is not to deal with this particular couple, it is to say that if there is any area in our society where Christians can be distinctive, where we can be salt and light, it is this area of sexual morality.  There are incredible opportunities here, not to berate people for their choices, but to live in a different, God-honoring way that in our society will invite both criticism and curiosity.  Both the criticism we will bear and the curiosity we will engender will be good for us.  Being attacked for faithfulness to God’s Word is not a bad thing.  We grow through such trials.  And the open doors for sharing the gospel that may come through the curiosity of others is of course a good thing as well, so long as we move from the particulars of biblical sexuality to the foundational gospel which makes us want to embrace such unusual sexual ethics.

Just think for a minute about the many ways Christians will stand out from culture if we consistently apply biblical truth to our sexuality . . .

1.  We would not live together without being married.

2.  We would not engage in pre-marital sexual activity.

3.  We would not view pornography.

4.  We would not view sexually suggestive tv or movies.

5.  We would view homosexual relationships as sinful.

6.  We would dress with modesty.

7.  We would not see divorce as a first option but as a last resort only for     biblical reasons and only after all avenues of reconciliation have been exhausted.

8.  We would not accept abortion as a couple’s choice to avoid having a child as a result of sexual immorality.

9.  We would seek to cultivate godly marriages and healthy sexuality within the God-given boundary of marriage.

10.  We as a church family would seek to help one another remain sexually faithful and to cultivate self-control and godliness.

11.  We would seek to raise children who are not shaped by the cultural mores of our society but by the principles of God’s Word.

12.  We would not see God’s principles for marriage and sexuality as confining us to misery or leaving us unfulfilled.  We will see God’s principles as giving us that which is best for us and glorifying to Him.

Now if you accept the twelve statements above (there are many other things we could say) many people in our culture will look at you at best as a little kooky and at worst as evil.  There may come a day when believing such things in our country will get you arrested.  Believing such will certainly get you silenced.

But the bottom line is this:  as it is written in the book of Acts, “we must obey God rather than men.”  We don’t obey to earn God’s favor.  We don’t lord these principles over others.  We stand for the truth but we aren’t working from a position of superiority.  Many of us have struggled or do struggle with these things.  And this is where the gospel and the local church are so important.  We live, not in light of what we have done but in light of what Christ has done on the cross.  We were dead but He made us alive.  We were in darkness, but He has brought us into the light.  Now we still have the principle of indwelling sin at work in our bodies.  We still struggle and may even stumble.  But we have the Holy Spirit at work in us, and we have fellow believers to help us, to pray for us, to keep us accountable.

May we all learn the important lesson I was reminded of through HGTV . . .

Romans 12:1  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

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