THESE ARE THE FEW WORDS ABOUT ENOCH’S LIFE:
And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. Genesis 5:21-24
He was, and then he was not, because God took him. That’s it? He just went with God, lifted up and approved! But he walked with God while he lived. Just walk with God and get approval, and fly away. No law, no salvation on the cross, just a straight holy walk. Wow. Few words for a major disappearing act. He was a stealth fighter!
WALKING WITH GOD
Faith carried Enoch, because he believed God. We have a hard time keeping this much faith today. Negative speaking people and evil spirits surround us. We tend to try to take “shortcuts”.
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. Hebrews 11:5
HOW DO WE PLEASE GOD?
Many people try to offer a better idea for our walk. We did read scriptures outlining a path for correcting our brothers. At times we should encourage others to change. At other times we must reject fellowship with those who are not of God. We read how Cain spent his energy blaming is brother for his own failures. What are some modern issues that may cause us to make decisions, and how can we respond?
WE CAN PRIORITIZE OUR CONCERNS.
Our closest danger is that which we harbor in ourselves. We can warn those near us of how they cause harm to us by errors. Then we have considered those who pose a threat to the local body by teaching others to sin. They are turned out of a fellowship for a season, hopefully to return when repentance works change. The hope in each case is to restore all who can turn from error, not to destroy anyone. Some say the “Army of the Lord” is the only Army that buries it’s wounded.
SOME CHRISTIANS ARE CONTROVERSIAL.
Televangelists have amassed empires of wealth, and fallen in temptations. Their accusations at times have them appearing on television with their attorneys. That is a conflict with scripture in itself, as we are not to sue a brother in the civil courts, let alone in media accusation. Divorce or sexual scandals have marred great ministries.
Churches, because of homosexuality and abortion, have targeted the secular world with protests. I hope we know that murder is not a cure for murder in Christ. How should our energy be applied concerning the controversies outside our churches?
WALK THE LINE
Christian bodybuilders won the Olympia bodybuilding contest in 2005, and in many other years as well. This might seem to be a victory for the faith, if not shaded by controversy.
WHAT ABOUT THE CONTROVERSY?
You are probably aware of a lot of issues around professional bodybuilding. The position of this writer is for natural drug-free fitness and Christian values. Many professionals today are not taking the same position in every area. I am happy to learn that the saints are able to take a stand, without walking away from athletes who disagree. We can not teach others methods that can cause harm. But we can still love those who take the risk. The issue is mostly the danger to the body of Christ.
Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. Romans 14:1-4
This illustrates our position clearly. If your selection of “herbs” helps you grow big, that is fine for you. God has received you where you are, and I am not to question God about my fellow servant. You will find opinions from both sides of this issue in my interviews for The Fit Christian Magazine. It may be different to law enforcement if those “herbs” are illegal though.
Perhaps you reject the idea of anyone posing in such immodest costumes. Or perhaps the women who build muscle are objectionable because this is so unusual to our cultural traditions. There are still many in the body of Christ who are open to the sport and its athletes. Some of the athletes I have interviewed have changed their participation to spend more time working for the kingdom of God. Some have left the sport entirely.
Whatever the choice, I am glad to see some who reach out to this community in love.
A practical reality points towards physical fitness that balances strength and endurance. Bodybuilding produces some good technology, but develops a strength that is not complete without more endurance training. Drugs can produce the illusion of strength undermined by serious health dangers. Top martial arts fighters may display a better example of balance. A few of them display an attractive physique in addition to the intensive cardio endurance required for their sport.
Modesty may be an issue largely for the beholder in this day though. Most sports are active enough to require little interference from any bulky garments. Even churchgoers are coming in shorts in this day. No one wears the minimal garments of these sports to church though. Everyone should consider how he or she might be causing a brother or sister to stumble in these decisions for daily wear. Where a sport may go off course is when the photography is mainly focused on sex for commerce, as in some sports magazines. Some bodybuilders may have abused this by selling internet photo gallery memberships.
What if a new Christian steps out to smoke a cigarette? He may be rejoicing because he is now delivered from beating his wife. Now our “fruit inspector” sees him, and berates him for the smoke entering his mouth. What a joyful mood he now takes home to his wife! I hope she does not pay for the irritation provoked by “Sister Bucket-mouth”.
Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Matthew 15:11
SECOND HAND SMOKE
But if your behavior causes a young saint to fall, you should consider your actions. He may not be wise enough to avoid the dangers of the risk. Immodesty, drug use, and fornication are where you were found, not where you should be going.
So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Romans 14:12-14
ARENAS OF CONTROVERSY
2005 GRAMMY AWARDS
Other popular contests have had the same kind of controversy. I have linked to some examples to let you see the wide range of responses from the church and the world.
U-2 SPY PLANE ?
These awards gave a big win to the Irish group U-2. They have some Christian convictions and some detractors as well.
“While secular scribes rarely ridicule the band’s faith, the “Christian press and Christians in general have been the doubters,” keen to “denounce the band’s Christian members as lost,” noted Stockman. Many have heaped “condemnation on their lifestyles, which include smoking cigars, drinking Jack Daniels and using language that is not common currency at Southern Baptist conventions.”
“This is a band that loves to rest between the sacred and the secular, so that no one group can claim them. What is certain, evidenced by Atomic Bomb, is that U2 continues to do what they do best-create emotive rock that ignites the soul.”
AMY TAKEN FOR GRANTED?
Long before this group, a Christian musician left gospel for secular music. Her controversy continues to this day with her television show.
“Her album Unguarded, released that same year, was also certified platinum and won her a Grammy. Grant caused an uproar among her loyal gospel audience with this album, which sported two successful pop crossover singles, “Find a Way” and “Wise Up.” A year later, she made it to No. 1 on the pop charts with “The Next Time I Fall,” a duet with Peter Cetera.”
“It should come as no surprise that, in light of the premiere of “Three Wishes,” Amy is this week’s featured artist at Christian Post and her face comprises one of four rotating photo headlines at Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network. Crosswalk.com notes that “after a rumored scandal that led to divorce and remarriage, however, Amy Grant became persona non grata for many Christians.” But with “Three Wishes,” they write, “Grant is back on top once again.”
“Amy’s song, “Baby, Baby”, was unprecedented in Gospel Music history topping the chart as the number-one spot on Billboard magazine. People magazine (July 15, 1991 p.71) says of Amy’s video Baby, Baby , “There’s saintly Amy cuddling some hunky guy, crooning “Baby, Baby” into his ear and looking pretty SLEEK AND SINFUL. . .” After all, Amy confesses, “I’m trying to look SEXY to sell a record . . .” (Rolling Stone, June 6, 1985 p. 10)
HOW DOES THE CHURCH RESPOND?
Often we see churches protesting in public against Moslems, abortion, homosexuality and a host of other subjects. Some go so far as to murder abortion doctors. Even Cain was given a mark to protect him from vigilante vengeance. What is it when we bring accusations against something in a loud and public manner? As a reminder look at Matthew 18:15 again:
Go and tell him his fault BETWEEN THEE AND HIM ALONE: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
So a public rebuke is unscriptural. And the loud public protest falls into another definition:
rail against someone or something
to complain vehemently about someone or something.
to utter bitter complaint or vehement denunciation
castigate, rant, revile.
Expressing reproach; insulting.
Scripture has instructions for us on this topic too:
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, OR A RAILER, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; WITH SUCH AN ONE NO NOT TO EAT. 1 Corinthians 5:11
So we should not disobey Gods word by bitter public outcry, and those who do are equated to fornicators, covetous, idolaters, drunkards, and extortionists. We should not be seen eating or socializing with them.
ENERGY SPENT DECRYING SIN IS A WASTE OF TIME.
The worldly masses don’t read it, and your flock is bored to death by endless disputations. If I spend the energy on my own example, I will be too worn out to annoy others. If you want to show the way, BE A GOOD EXAMPLE! (Faith without works is dead) Give them what they want, the bread of life, the Word of God; Live it!
The hand of loving fellowship draws people to our hope. I am really pleased to hear testimony that churches are receiving bodybuilders, including the big women. They are not asking visitors to take an entrance examination! If you think a brother or sister is having a problem, you can offer a stealth solution: pray! Prayer is unseen, but felt. You will never be a famous person as a prayer warrior. But praying grannies are the most powerful builders in the body of Christ. You may hear just the little encouragement the brother or sister will need. Pass it on to them. Words that lift up will keep them near to the Lord who is our source.
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him