Avoiding the appearance of evil.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 - "22 Abstain from all appearance of evil."

One of the more troubling things for me in this media culture
we live in, are the mixed signals many of the most famous
athletes and entertainers send out in regard to their faith.
Let me say up front, I am not judging anyone's salvation.
Only God knows a person's heart so we should never, ever try
to say a person is saved or lost. However, a person's actions
often give an indication of where they are at spiritually.
Britney Spears is one of pop music's top performers.

It is well publicized that she is a Christian, reads her
Bible daily, and has taken a vow of abstinence until marriage.
I applaud her stand on abstinence, and hope many of her fans
will follow her example. There is a great contradiction
though in Britney's professed faith in Christ, and the image
she portrays in her professional career and her personal
life. From the lyrics in the songs she sings, to living with
her boyfriend, to the clothing she wears, to the choreographed
dance routines...all are based on sex. She has become a
stumblingblock to many men young and old, and is a horrible
role model for so many young women who idolize her.
It is a shame that a young woman, with the great gifts that God has obviously
given to her, has sold out her life for the temporary fame and fortune of this world,
rather then using for the glory of God.

Britney is not alone though. Toni Braxton has several ministers in her
family, Mariah Carey is one of pop's superstars, N Sync is the hottest group
today, and many more of the superstars in music and film... profess a faith
in Christ, yet their professional careers are built around marketing sex to
the masses. We also have famous athletes. Very visible and bold about
proclaiming their faith in Christ, yet living lives that would call into
question their level of commitment. The purpose today is not to question
the salvation of these people. It is not to humiliate them for the sins in
their life, for we ALL have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. Most of
us are fortunate that our sins aren't printed in the National Enquirer or on
the 6 o'clock news. No my friend, the purpose is to highlight the mixed
signals many of these high profile people send out.

The Bible says clearly that we are to avoid the appearance of evil. This is
a powerful verse. Why? Because there is a world, a lost world watching.
Never forget that your most powerful witness, your loudest witness for
Christ is NOT what you say, but how you live. People watch you, they notice
how you live day to day. Having Christ in your life, living for Him daily,
makes you different, and people notice that difference. Again, I am not
here to judge Britney Spears or any other celebrity that professes to be a
Christian. I have enough problems taking care of my own life. However, due
to the fact these people are so visible, have so many people that idolize
them and imitate them....what they portray, even though it may not be who
they really are, influences many people. THAT is why the Bible says to
"avoid the appearance of evil". How you act influences others.

I will be praying today that you will be aware that as you are living
your life day to day, people are watching you. As you make it known
that you are a Christian, people will be looking to see what is different
about your life. It has been said that we are the only Bible some will
ever see. Of course, in your own strength, there is nothing. But when
you are living in the power of the Holy Spirit, there is everything.
We possess a power greater than anything known in the universe.
The key is tapping into that power each day. We do that in our time of
prayer, in our time reading the Word each morning. We do that by dying
to self daily and letting His will, not our will be done each day. It is
what Jesus said when He told us that we "are the salt of this earth", and
that we are to "let our light shine".

In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,
Bill Keller