While thinking about how young believers often wrestle with questions of abstinence and moderation I thought about one question in particular. One night I was on a panel of speakers invited to field random questions from a college campus ministry group. While there we were asked many questions but one of them stuck in my mind and came up again as I thought about such questions. The student raised his hand and when called on asked "Can I smoke weed and be a Christian?"
I am not one that has very strong legalistic feelings about such things and I really do think many authentic Christians come down on different sides of this question. Rather than answering this question directly, I questioned the question itself which was helpful for me. What is the heart behind this question? In my response I told him that I think he is asking the wrong question and the wrong kind of question all together.
As a Christian we should not be looking for the dividing lines or asking what we might be able to get away with. Christianity is anything but a bare minimum posture. No question which asks what I can have or do and still be considered a Christian is itself a christian question. The question itself has already become unfaithful to the call of Christ. A Christian should be asking what can I do without for the sake of Jesus? How can I lay my life down for the sake of His Kingdom? The Christian surrenders all things for the sake of the Christ and His Kingdom. Our faith is not something we hold among other things in our lives that we hold. It is not an identity among other identities but an identity that negates all others. This is why Paul would write "In Christ there is no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female." We cannot hold onto anything.
The call is surrender and in surrender there is freedom. How can you know if you don't try? (-;