The Grid of Philippians – Rob

Alright.  I’ll give you fair warning.  This one, if it affects you as it affected me, will hit you square between the eyes.  If not, well you were doing better than I was haha.  So just be prepared.

I was perusing Facebook the other day when I looked at the side bar on the right.  You know, the place where you can creeperishly see what your friends are all liking.  Well something popped up that grabbed my attention.  I will use the anonymous name of “Joe Smith” for the time being.  “Joe Smith and 25 other friends like Tosh.0.”

Now, perhaps I am out of touch with reality but from what I know about Daniel Tosh (I’ve never actually seen his show) is that he isn’t exactly one that jokes while upholding “Christian Values.”  From what I understand, Daniel Tosh tends to be somewhat sacrilegious and filthy in his commentary.  I have even heard from “secular friends” that his jokes are very dirty.  Being that I heard this, I figured it best not to spend my time watching his show.

But, when I saw Joe Smith and 25 other friends liked “Tosh.0” on Facebook I was pretty curious as to who liked it, and so clicked it to find out.  “Joe Smith” is a friend of mine that at one point stood for the same Christian values that I do, which peaked my curiosity even more.  As I clicked to see who the 25 other people were I was actually very surprised.  I would say 95% were “Christian.”  Now, don’t take this as me condemning anyone else or looking down on other people’s activities.  What I took out of this was that we, as Christians, may be letting the world influence us in far too many ways.  Somewhere along the lines it became ok to sit and laugh at sin and filth, to enjoy watching sin in movies, enjoy listening to sin in music, and joke about sin in conversation.  I have caught myself thinking on occasion “well this isn’t that bad” and accepting it as OK to watch/listen to/talk about.

We have often heard it said, “If Christ was in the room with you would you still watch it?”  Well guess what?  Christ IS in the room with me every time I go to watch a movie, listen to music, have a conversation, or tell a joke.  There is no “what if” there is “what now?”  I guess seeing how many Christians were ok with subjecting themselves to taking pleasure in sin really got to me.  How much sin am I ok with being leaked into my life?

Paul wrote to the local church in Philippi in Philippians 4:8,

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

What a contrast!  Now, I’ve heard the argument, “Yeah, but I don’t want to be a weirdo and Christ and his disciples sat and ate with sinners!”  This is correct, Christ did sit and eat with sinners.  But I guarantee that he did not partake in their sin, or laugh at it.  Paul and the disciples did not sit around with the other Christians and tell off-color jokes or watch Tosh.0.  The reason they were with sinners?  To preach the gospel.  What person wants to listen to a message “that will change your life” when the person telling it is no different than they are?  Not only are we taking away from the praise that Christ is worthy of, we are erasing the impact of the gospel.  What a tragedy.  Paul lays forth a grid through which we can pass EVERYTHING we do.  My job can be something that gives Christ praise because of the type of employee I am reflects my Savior.  How are my conversations with my co-workers?  Worthy of praise? Pure? Honorable? Lovely?  How about with other Christians?  True?  Kind of sounds like a possible stab at gossip.  Am I just always looking for more dirt? Are the things commendable that I talk about?  I am reminded of James 3:10,

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.  My brothers, these things out not to be so.

How many of my recent activities have made it through the grid?  How will my planned activities make it through?  As Christians, we should always be evaluating where we are when it comes to the scripture, not the world.  Too often I have found myself saying “Ok, I will stay this far away from the world!”  Which sounds great except when I realize that the world is spiraling further and further from God.  The only distance I should be worried about is between me and God’s standard.  The world will continue to fall away and I would be wise to not fall away with it.  How much of the world am I letting into my life/mind/heart?  Usually, standing for God will make me the odd-man out.  Christ himself said in John 15:18,

If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you.

Want a good indication of you effectiveness for God?  Does the world hate you?  I am not saying that when you go to school you should immediately have things thrown at you and have no friends.  People, in general, will highly respect a Christian who is living for Christ.  They are the nicest people! But the world, the system of thought, education, knowledge, and lifestyle that goes against God, should hate the Christian.  We all know what the Bible means when it says “world.”  Romans 12:1-2 says,

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.  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.

As a whole, Christians are far too conformed to this world and allow too much of the world into our lives.  I am guilty just as much as the next person.  Tim is hard on the Church but I would say it starts with the individuals in the Church.  We are allowing the world into our lives in small and large ways.  If we are to be effective communicators of the gospel then we have all got to take a step back and re examine what we let come into our minds, across our eyes and ears, and out our mouths.

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