Work hard, play hard: It’s the mantra of many young twenty-somethings in today’s world. The party lifestyle is a rite of passage from high school to college, where drinking, dancing and a “good time” reign supreme. But should Christians participate in this kind of entertainment? Here are three things to consider before you do.
1. Drunkenness is never acceptable for followers of Christ.
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)
There is a big difference between a party where alcohol is present and a party where alcohol is the main event. The latter is what we hear about in the news when the “good time” goes south. While the Bible never condemns alcohol itself, it repeatedly commands followers of God to refrain from drunkenness. Drinking to intoxication—especially underage—dishonors God. For Christians, drunkenness prevents your mind and spirit from operating in the Spirit of God. It defiles the temple of His Spirit—your body—and damages your witness for Christ. If the party you’re thinking about attending celebrates drunkenness, remember your identity in Christ and set yourself apart.
To read more about the difference between drinking and drunkenness, read this post.
2. We are called to be set apart from cultural influences.
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. (2 Peter 3:17)
Partying might be acceptable in our culture, but that doesn’t make it acceptable for Christians. Christianity isn’t fire insurance; we don’t get to say we “love Jesus,” then go on living just as we did before. If we claim to follow Christ, our lives should reflect His influence in every area. This calls us to abandon the world’s priorities and follow Jesus with the same devotion His disciples did, dropping their nets to obey His call.
Perhaps the “net” you need to drop is the approval of your peers. Perhaps it’s the social environment of the parties you used to attend. Remember: Attending a party is not a witnessing opportunity unless you are actively sharing the gospel with the people present. If you can’t do that, your presence there is not a witness for Christ, but evidence that your faith in Him makes no difference in your priorities. We are called to be set apart; consecrated to God so we can share His love and purity with the world. Being set apart is not arrogant. It may be convicting to those around you, but it is conviction that brings people to a knowledge of Christ’s saving power. How you live is the loudest proclamation of the gospel your friends may ever hear.
3. Our lives should be characterized by holiness.
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)
This verse written by the apostle Peter sums up our call in this world. Those of us who used to party might miss the lifestyle at times, but we are not to be “conformed to the passions of our former ignorance.” The lifestyle of drunkenness, foolishness and promiscuity is a lifestyle of ignorance; those who participate don’t know how much they are being damaged. They don’t know how much God longs to call them to something better. Once in Christ, we are given a glimpse of redemption and are made holy before God. This new identity means new priorities: to be holy as He is holy.
There are a lot of great ways to have fun that don’t involve a worldly party environment. You can also witness to your unsaved friends without condoning their behavior with your presence. Believe it or not, standing on conviction with love and grace is one of the most effective ways to promote the gospel to those who don’t believe. Don’t compromise your holiness, but live out what you believe with boldness. You never know who it may touch.