Should Christians abstain from all forms of tobacco and alcoholic products and R-rated movies? Silly question? Some Christians would say it’s a silly question because the answer is “Of course we should abstain!” Others would say, it’s silly question because the answer is “Of course NOT!” Others would say we should abstain from one or two of those three but not necessarily all three.
So who is right? We have to be careful not to be legalistic. The Bible clearly prohibits drunkenness. But drinking in moderation seems to be permissible. To say all tobacco usage is wrong because it destroys your body which is a temple of the Holy Spirit is difficult to maintain consistently given how much sugar many non-tobacco users consume. And the passage from which that thinking comes is 1 Cor. 6:19 which is in the context of sexual immorality. But it seems reasonable that we should take care of ourselves and not abuse our bodies. But again – we have to be careful about a legalistic application of that assumption. We definitely should be considering what we put into our minds given what Paul says in Philippians 4:8 about thinking only upon things that are excellent or praiseworthy. But I’ve known some Christians who say “No R-rated movies – except The Passion of the Christ and Saving Private Ryan – aaaaand a few others I happen to like.” Consistency can be difficult.
Here is something to think about concerning what may be questionable matters. 1. What may be safe for one person may not be for another. God has a number of ways of getting to a person’s heart. But Satan has a number of subtle ways into our hearts as well. Paul said in 1 Cor. 6:12 “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.” Just because I CAN does not mean I SHOULD; 2. I need to guard my witness to others. I do not have the right to indulge in something that may ruin someone who is watching me in this activity. I need to be guided by the law of LOVE. While we may have the strength of mind and will to keep some pleasure in its proper place, another brother or sister or unbeliever may not. So, we need to give thought to our actions and how they may affect our witness to others.
Let’s be considerate of those around us and whether or not something is negatively affecting our own relationship with God more than we may have previously thought.