Whatever happened to our Witness?

After a recent discussion on facebook regarding the movie "Magic Mike", I've been giving the subject of our Christian witness a lot of thought.  First, what exactly is our witness?  Your witness is how the world around you sees Jesus through your actions.  The last thing that Jesus said to his disciples was

"...you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." -- Acts 1:8 (NIV)

In Matthew, Jesus tells us:

 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."  -- Matt 5:14-16 (NIV)

Jesus never intended for us to be like the sinful world that we live in.  We are expected to stand up for HIS truth (the Bible), for HIS standards, and to live a life that does not cause others to stumble...to think poorly of our Savior.  When we do what's right, we are not going to be popular with the world.  Jesus reminds us of this in John:

"18 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." -- John 15:18-19 (NIV)

Why all of the scripture?  Too often, we base what we believe on our own opinion of what is good, and what is not.  Friends, this simply CANNOT be the way that we live our lives?  Jeremiah tells us that "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?" -- Jer 17:9  When we can be easily fooled by our own hearts (i.e. minds), then what do we rely on when we need to make a decision, or whether or not we should be involved with some activity?  Obviously, for a believer in Jesus Christ, our standard MUST be the Bible.

I have been dumbfounded lately as I've read through posts on Facebook, articles in the news, and listened to countless conversations regarding the movie "Magic Mike," and the book "50 Shades of Gray."  Listening to people justify watching and reading pornographic material does not work when you read the scripture regarding sexual sin. (Eph. 5:3, Col. 3:5, 1 Cor. 6:13, 1 Cor. 6:18).  I'm sorry, but it needs to be said....if we are justifying sin in our lives as Christians, we are dead WRONG!

Before anyone claims that this is merely a soapbox about a movie and a book, let me assure you...it goes much deeper than that.  I cannot log onto a social media site without seeing all manner of my fellow believers promoting and engaging in things that the world does not see as Godly.  Countless pictures of Christians proudly hoisting their drink at the bar, while their status talks about church on Sunday.  Seductive, scantily dressed poses in pictures...all in good "fun."  Reposting quotes, pictures, and videos with foul language, sexual humor, or degrading comments.  You get the point.

Why is this such an issue?  Friends, because it blurs the line between Christians and the world that we live in.  If non-believers cannot see any difference in our lifestyle, then why would they ever feel the need to investigate Jesus?  We are CALLED to be different...we were COMMISSIONED to be the light to this world.  Why then, are we making allowances for sin in our own lives?

It is time to stop being led astray and knocked off course by every temptation that is thrown at us.  Satan knows that if he can keep our attention on ourselves, and our relationship with God marred by sin, that he can make us ineffective witnesses.  Stay in the WORD....Pray....and most important...love the people around you enough to live a life that reflects Jesus in every way!

Don't fall into the group of people described here...your witness matters!

"There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them."  -- 2 Tim 3:1-5 (NIV)

I must decrease, so that HE may increase!