I have a lovely young friend who is a strong Christian, a good wife and mother, and she is very big into healthy living and exercise. In fact, she used to be so into exercise that she became a yoga instructor. That is, until she started digging deeper into the philosophical ramifications of yoga. She recently asked her Facebook friends to follow a link to a Q/A article about Christians participating in yoga.
Many friends left comments. The really interesting (to me) comments came from "Christian" friends attempting to defend their participation in and enjoyment of yoga. Their explanations included "there's nothing wrong with yoga as long as you steer clear of the religious aspects." Others theorized that instead of meditating or emptying their minds, they focus instead on a Bible passage or "only" do yoga for the healthful aspects of good exercise.
My friend was right, and she was out-numbered. And you know me well enough by now. I HAD to get into the discussion. So.
Here is the (slightly edited) response I added to discussion. My dear friend told me she would like to give me a TRIPLE "like"--because my response hit home. Others were offended. I do come off pretty strongly, I'll admit that, but then I believe St. Paul came off pretty strongly in some of his letters, too, and I'm betting that God gave him a TRIPLE "like" too.
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If you are a Christian and if you know your Bible, then you know that we are told to FLEE from all things that are not OF GOD. We are also told that we are IN the world but not to be OF the world.
ANYTHING--N. E. THING!!!--that is NOT directly from God is from the world. Don't get trapped in thinking, "Well, this is an adiaphoron."
People, we're not talking about women being ushers or what color the altar paraments should be.
Hello? How is yoga and the practice thereof an adiaphoron--negotiable? So what if it is "good exercise"? Sex outside of marriage feels good, too. Since when does "it makes me feel good" or "it seems harmless" hold weight with a Christian?
God is clear in His word that the road to Hell is wide and heavily traveled. The road to Heaven is narrow and sparsely populated.
Spin this any way you like, but we Christians -- Christ followers -- should abstain from, resist and tear ourselves away from ANYTHING that cannot stand up under God's scrutiny.
You don't get a pass because YOU say, "hey, this is an adiaphoron."
NO, IT'S NOT!!! This is an Eastern religion, humanistic, and mystical.
Why would you want to test such things? Why would you take the chance that you are leading your children astray with the things you are involved in? Why would you callously disregard what Jesus said, did and died for (on YOUR behalf), when God's Word is clear that we are to have NOTHING TO DO with the sinful world?
So, yeah. Toss out the trick-r-treating. Give your kids a bag of candy. Let them dress up in play clothes and pretend to be pirates or whatever without participating in something that glorifies Satan.
Toss out Santa Claus and every holiday decoration or tradition that reeks of the gimme-greedee stuff--focus on CHRIST's birth instead--totally. Get rid of the Easter Bunny, too, and remember the sorrow of Christ's death and the joy of His resurrection. Your faith will grow so much when you get rid of the GARBAGE that drags you down.
When Christians participate in these sorts of holiday festivities--which do NOT give glory to God--we are WORSE than unbelievers because we KNOW BETTER!!!! And our participation can lead someone of weaker faith to the wide and paved road that leads to Hell. Do you think THAT is not a sin?
* * * * * * *St. Paul's letters are LOADED with many warnings. He reminds us that as we grow, our faith should mature, and that we should leave behind the things of the world. Remember, too, that as our faith matures we carry more responsibility for the way we live our life.
Rid your life of the things that are not GOD-pleasing! We have a commandment--it's the first one. LOVE GOD above everything else. If you STILL think there's nothing wrong with participating in Yoga because your faith is just so strong you can resist temptation, and you don't "get into" all the religious aspects, then you are ignoring your own sinful nature AND --more importantly-- you are DILUTING the rest of your Christian witness.
Other people--with weaker faith--are watching you...and when YOU (supposedly a "strong" Christian) delve into something KNOWN to be un-godly, then YOU, my dear friend, have a millstone chain already wrapped around your neck. You just haven't been tossed overboard yet.
Unwrap that chain which Satan is looping around your neck, one link at a time. You are SILLY to think that YOU--somehow--have SUCH a strong faith, that you couldn't stumble. WORSE, you, by your pride, are perhaps leading WEAKER ones to believe that "a little bit is okay."
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