There are many behaviors that Christians adhere to that society at best views as peculiar and at worst as worthy of ridicule. Times have not changed much since Peter wrote his First Letter nearly two thousand years ago. Roman society viewed such things as unbridled sexual behavior, drunkenness, and disorderly party culture as undesirable. However, most of the people back then, like people today, felt such ideals out of touch, or at least out of reach. Peter called his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to resist such urges to follow the culture, “They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you (1 Peter 4:4).”
Take for example sex. Most people today, if polled, would likely agree that marriage remains the ideal bed for sex. However, advocate for such restrain and many people will likely accuse you of chasing a unicorn, something beyond the realm of possibility. For the Christian, there are only two options when it comes to sex: sex within the context of a faithful marriage or complete abstinence. There is nothing in-between.
Sex is the consummation of a marriage relationship. It was there at the beginning, when God said, “Be fruitful and multiply.” God ordained sex, made it beautiful, and uses it to bring life into the world. Yet, sex outside of marriage perverts the good. If the fall of humankind never happened, our sexual pleasure would have been more rather than less. One recent study found that highly religious couples enjoy more sexual satisfaction than less religious couples. Yet, the young person in the locker room committed to waiting for his or her future spouse is ridiculed for doing so.
Another example is party culture. Party culture has become a rites of passage for college students, many high schoolers too. More adults than ever are ok with their child’s use of recreational drugs and less than ideal behavior at parties. “Just don’t get caught or pregnant,” a parent might say. Choose not to drink or participate in what goes on at some parties and you will spend many nights alone.
In a culture like ours – and Peter’s – brothers and sisters in Christ are called to suffer rather than sin (1 Peter 4:1), to suffer the ridicule and judgmental glances. This is not to say that grace and forgiveness is not there if you falter, but don’t give into the compromise and cease trying to do better.