The Forum

The Forum

This department is provided for the free and courteous discussion of biblical and spiritual problems which may be considered edifying to the people of God. Letters concerning such matters are requested.

Dear Sandra:

In response to your question as to whether or not you should go bowling, here are the principles which should guide us in matters of this nature. The worldling is a lover of pleasure (2 Tim. 3:4; 1 John 2:15). We are told not to love the world that passeth away (1 John 2:16-17). The greatest keeping power is love for Christ. Married persons are faithful to each other because they love one another, not because the law of the land asserts that they must not commit adultery.

Furthermore, the Holy Spirit indwells the Christian so that he is no longer his own; he is a bond-slave of Jesus Christ, purchased by His precious blood (1 Cor. 6:20). Notice therefore, Romans 12:1-2 and also Hebrews 12:1. Some things in life are not in themselves sinful, but they are weights which no spiritual runner wants, lest he lose the race, and be disapproved (1 Cor. 9:25-27).

The matter of discipleship to Christ calls for self-denial (Matt. 16:24-26). This is not irksome if we are conscious of doing it for the Lord.

There are several questions which we could ask in this connection: Is it expedient (profitable) that I do this (1 Cor. 6:12; 12:23)? Will it edify (build up spiritually) myself and others (Rom. 14:19)?

Would the Lord Jesus do it? He has left us an example that we should follow His steps (1 Pet. 2:21). Would I feel ashamed if the Lord came and found me doing it? Is there the least bit of doubt in my mind about the matter? If so, I should not do it lest I be condemned (Rom. 14:22-23). Will the act be for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31)? Does it break the tender link of communion with God? It is a fact that the conscience becomes hard through the deceitfulness of sin (1 John 1:3; Heb. 3:13). Will it offend or stumble my brother or sister who may be weaker than myself (1 Cor. 8:11 and 12)? What influence will it have generally (Rom. 14:7)? How does it look in view of the Judgment Seat of Christ? How much of my time does it occupy? Am I taking time for the things that really matter: reading God’s word, prayer, visiting, witnessing, assembly responsibility, good works, etc. (2 Cor. 8:9; 9:6; (1 Cor. 16:1)? How much expense is involved? Does the Lord get His portion?

Moreover, it is very important that we cultivate the companionship of those who are Christians. The Amplified Version renders 1 Corinthians 15:33 in this manner: “Do not be deceived and misled! Evil companions (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character.”

Bodily exercise does have value, but godliness is profitable for all things, both now and hereafter (1 Tim. 4:7-8). This verse does not mean that one should not have exercise, but, rather, that this should be tempered by the consideration that godliness is much more profitable in everything. It is very unhealthful for one not to have physical and mental diversion and exercise, but one should learn by experience those things which are best for his spiritual life. There is a vast difference between pleasurable relaxation and worldly amusement.

One should ever remember that what might be harmless to him, might be fatal to his brother.