What should we do when someone claims we don’t know what we’re talking aboutin that which we condemn? We are often inexperienced in the ways of the world. Young Christians want to glorify Jesus Christ by living a holy life, but unbelieving friends claim sin is fun; “why don’t you try it? Must we smoke for a few years before smokers will listen to us? Should we live a carnal lifestyle so we know what we are talking about when we suggest fornication is wrong? Is it helpful to experiment with sin to really know it’s not a good thing?
The little book of Ecclesiastes is very helpful with these questions. Solomon decided to have a good look at life as if there was no God, yet not sin while doing it. He amassed great wealth and many expensive possessions, plus hundreds of wives to enjoy it with him! He indulged in great building projects and national ventures; things that could bring him a lot of pride. He examined man’s efforts to create fame and legacies. He even tinkered with the pursuit of worldly wisdom. In the end it all came up empty. He said it felt like “striving after the wind.” He went back to God and confessed He was right after all.
There was a time in my own life when this great little book muted my own curiosity about the ways of the world and its sins. It was a wake-up call for which I’m grateful.
We don’t have to wallow in the muck of sin to know that there’s a better way. There is no need to dabble in destructive things before we can really know it’s not good for us. We don’t have to do what’s wrong in order to justify what’s right. A godly life will bring you all the best things you desire, yet without sin and disappointment. As Paul put it, “Godliness is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment” (1 Tim.6:6).
When somebody challenges you with naïve inexperience about things you know are wrong, just say: “I don’t have to do that to feel good about myself; I’ve got better things to do.”
– Tim Johnson