Don’t miss this! You have every right in Christ to drink a beer, to get tatts, to watch movies, to dance, to go clubbing, to pierce every part of your body, to wear shorts and a tank top to church, to play poker or get a scratcher. You have that right.
The Pharisees lie. They put pressure on you. They want you to conform. To be a clone. To EARN your way into 2 places: their club and God’s heart. The former is a path into the pit of hell. The latter, a winding path with no real destination.
But don’t miss this, either- you also have the freedom to abstain from any of the above as your conscience dictates, the situation warrants and God’s Spirit presses upon you.
Just because you can doesn’t mean you have to. AND just because some don’t doesn’t mean you can’t.
Freedom is only freedom if it’s freedom both to do AND to abstain from doing. And you can only work that out in the context of a close walk with Jesus. Maturity as a believer comes from following Jesus and making decisions as HE leads. Please note- this is not the same as following the convictions of your preacher or your church culture. Adopting the convictions of others is a path to permanent spiritual infanthood. And those who would press you into that mold are controllers, not servants. “…solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil”- Heb. 5:14. Let me say it again: adopting the convictions and practices of others without testing them against scripture and praying about God’s will for your life in areas the Bible doesn’t specifically address is a path to permanent spiritual infanthood.
The controller of your actions is simple: love. Love for God, love for others. A desire to glorify God and encourage others. I meet a friend regularly at a local pub. I praise God for it- and the libation. And I always come away encouraged by the time with my brother in the Lord. Your freedoms may be different. Glorify God. Love people.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand fast, and do not be entangled again by a yoke of slavery”- Galatians. “My yoke is easy. My burden light”- Jesus, in comparison to the yoke (teaching) of the dominant religious culture.