We often like to push the limits. There are storylines that have made millions in the box office from this idea. We have all pushed the limits at times and when we reflect on those moments they are met with a “What was I thinking?!?” Though we can all chuckle, this attitude often invades our spiritual lives. Let’s face it, we often like to see how close we can get to sin without sinning; we like to push the limits. We justify our actions by thinking as long as we do not cross some arbitrary line, we are still in a safe zone. What if there is a mental shift that needs to take place?
I often get asked if various actions are sinful. Sometimes this question is birthed out of a new experience or an encounter with a new idea. Other times, a problem comes because they have began to question an action in which they enjoy participating. Within the period of questioning there is often a desire to do right, but also a battle with the flesh. Is there a way we can evaluate these actions?
2 Timothy 2:22 tells us to “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” What does the verse tell us to do? Yes, we are to flee youthful passions, but we are to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. Paul gives Timothy a place to run towards, not just something to flee. Instead of asking whether it is a youthful passion, sometimes we should ask if it helps us pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. Related to the struggle mentioned above, we ought to ask whether the action helps us to seek the righteousness, faith, love, and peace Paul challenged Timothy to seek.
To live a life of avoidance is an option we might try, but it does not mean we will be pursuing what is right. However, if we will seek the things taught in Scripture and learned in fellowship with other believers, the things from which we need to flee will be revealed. We need to focus on what or who we are pursuing. So, instead of pushing the limits of sin, we pursue the righteous life God desires. Pursue him in everythin. This pursuit will naturally lead to the fleeing from sin.
So, is an action sinful? Maybe we need to rethink the question. We ought to ask if the action allows us to pursue the righteous life GOd desires.