I recently heard a conversation about whether Christians should abstain from watching certain kinds of movies. The movie that started the whole discussion was The Hangover Part II (rated 10 out of 10 for sex & nudity, 7 for violence, 10 for profanity — see details here). One person was questioning whether someone “called to be holy” should be consuming these sort of things. The other was arguing that he wanted to remain “relevant and relatable” to others.
When does relevance win out over holiness?
Relevance is the regular reason Christians give to engage in less-than-holy behavior. How far should it go? One man’s “I watch raunchy movies to stay relevant,” is another man’s “I go to strip clubs so my friends don’t think I’m a prude.” Does it carry over to illicit drugs? Sleeping around? Doing dirty business if it leads to good money?
Here’s the point: at some point, you must forsake relevance for holiness. You cannot participate in everything the world has to offer, even though wherever you draw the line, it will make you less relevant/relatable.
So here’s my proposal: Draw the line at holiness every time. If you know you have a choice that affirms Christ’s lordship — even if it denies attractive worldly opportunities — make that choice every time.
Frankly, I don’t believe our world needs more “relevant” Christians, if by relevant, you mean living by the same standards as the rest of the world. I believe they desperately need more holy Christians. Don’t read that as self-righteous (acting morally superior to everyone else); read it as holy (fully consecrated to God).