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Question:
I am a young, hip, urban individual… yet I am also a Christian. I have a tattoo and I smoke- is this despicable in the sight of God? I am stuggling with an answer to this- is it possible to be a good Christian- in faith and good works- and still have ties to things some folks would call “worldly”, not in thought or philosophy, but in outward expression- like smoking or my tattoo? I’m not looking to justify my decisions or rationalize them, just interested in one Godly man’s opinion on the state of this scenario.

Answer:

If I were to approach this answer by addressing smoking and tattoos, then I’d be left answering the same thing about dancing, clothing, music, posessions and a host of other “worldly” things.

So let me approach from a different angle; actually, a couple of different angles.

First, let’s start with something that I have repeated often, and that is “I think you’re asking the wrong question”. You are approaching the issue with what I call a “club member” mentality.

A “Club Member” mentality is “what is the minimum requirement that will allow me to claim membership to the club?”. For Christians, this is the mindset that says “how much of the world can I enjoy and still be ‘godly’?”

As we mature and transform our lives to Christ, we should find ourselves asking “what can I do to bring the most glory to my God and Savior?”

Genuine Christians are capable of all manner of worldliness, and who would argue that in American Christianity has become comfortably conjoined with worldliness? I get questions every day about “is it okay if….?” that deal with behavior or lifestyle.

Many people WANT to be Christians, but they want to do just the bare minimum to be able to claim “membership” so that they can enjoy as much of the world as possible too.

Learn to ask the right question if you’re looking for a Godly answer. When it comes to lifestyle and behavior issues the right question is “what can I do to most glorify God?”, not “what can I get away with and still be a Christian?”

My second challenge to you would be this: don’t be concerned about what “some folks” call worldly. Who cares what Brent Riggs, or your Preacher, or what any person thinks when it comes to what is worldly and what is Godly?

We should turn to God to find out what He thinks. This takes some hard work and discipline to search God’s Word which is not exactly in vogue today.

If you want to know what God considers acceptable, ask Him; read His Word. Don’t worry about “other folks”… they aren’t your Savior or God.

In closing, since you asked the direct question (and this is directly for the person who actually submitted the question), I would tell you that “YES”, from my experience, I would guess that you’re simply trying justify behavior you know you should give up.

Let me give you a rule I have always used… IF YOU HAVE TO ASK IF SOMETHING IS WRONG, THEN 99.9% OF THE TIME, IT IS.

As Christians, the Holy Spirit tells us when something is wrong, and often that is manifested by the fact that we “wonder” or “question” if something is “okay”. If we have to question it, it almost always means that, yes, it’s wrong.

PS: WHAT ARE YOUR QUESTIONS FOR ME? Ask here. To give a gift of support, click here.