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Questions to ask before going to a party

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Let me tell you the story of how I got kicked out of a club.

It’s around 10:30 pm as we head to the Cargo Bar for a friend’s 20th birthday party. Since I was driving, I was not planning to drink and since I am an unfit nerd, I was not planning to dance.

Being super crowded as clubs are, the loud music kills my ears. Random 20-year olds in cheap smart casual shirts and dresses with a high skin-to-clothing ratio bump into me from all sides.

After the others have some drinks and start dancing, I head over to the side of the club and sit down on a couch. Thinking about how to be most productive right now, I pull out my phone and open my Kindle app. ‘New Morning Mercies’ by Paul Tripp sounds totally out of place in this club, but I read it for several minutes. It’s great. God’s gospel is amazing!

People all around me are splashing drinks on my expensive clothes and telling me off for not dancing. “What are you doin’ mate?”, “get off your phone ya poof”. I decide to lean forward and pray. Pray for the people here and pray for my heart as I think about what Jesus would do.

My head is leaning down in front of me as I pray (really intimately, believe it or not) for several minutes before a firm hand grips my shoulder and pushes me upright. Two bodyguards are standing in front of me as I realise again where I am. Moments later, a skinny but fashionable man walks over to me; “Hey mate, I’m the manager here. I’m gonna have to ask you to get up and walk outside with me for a chat.”

“What’s going on?” I think to myself, gathering my belongings and try to follow him through the dance floor toward the exit. Turning around as we reach fresh air, he says, “Sorry but you have to leave. I can’t have anyone sleeping in my club.” I try to explain that I wasn’t sleeping nor even had a single drink, but that didn’t cut it.

And that sums up my life’s experience of clubbing.

It has no relation to the purpose of this article, I just like to make fun of myself.

Recently published here was Peter Ko’s controversial article on Unmarried Christian Couples Holidaying Alone. Here’s a disclaimer: we’re not trying to be legalistic and force you to do what we prefer. You might be thinking, “how can this Tim guy write against partying just because he doesn’t like it?”.

Here at Disciple Timothy, we want to correct, encourage and rebuke according to the word of God (2 Timothy 4:2), not merely our preferences and experiences. In the various ministries I lead, numerous people (especially leaders) seek biblical wisdom about today’s young party culture. It may also be helpful to note that there are many different types of parties, so a simple “don’t do this don’t do that” probably won’t suffice.

The following are some diagnostic questions you can ask yourself before going out a party:

  • Will this please God? Scripture reminds us that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit that was bought at a price, so we should honour God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We are not to conform to the world but have our minds renewed and lives transformed by the will of God, for this pleases him (Romans 12:1-2). God himself has set us apart for holiness – we are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own chosen people that we may proclaim him (1 Peter 2:9). Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin1 (Romans 14:23), so will chatting, drinking or dancing away really please God?
  • Will others consider this appropriate? As Christians, we are called to be above reproach for the sake of others (Titus 1:7). We are to care about the opinions of others so that they may not misunderstand us or that we might misrepresent Christ (Ephesians 5:1). Do our actions or even the environments we place ourselves in undermine what say we believe to the world? We are called to submit to authority (Hebrews 13:17), so will others in your church, especially your elders, approve of it?
  • Will this negatively affect me? There is no such thing as mindless dancing or thoughtless drinking, especially in the context of sinners actively sinning. We are constantly training our brains and hearts2. What we love and worship is shaped by what we practice and our environment. This not just, “will I sin?” but also, “what am I teaching myself?”.

 

So if you decide to go to a party, here are some practical tips:

  • Ask God for wisdom and power – seek his will and learn to act on it. Ask for the Spirit’s power amidst the pressures of the devil’s world (James 1:5; Isaiah 41:10).
  • Seek friendship and fellowship – ensure you have both physical protection and spiritual accountability by those you trust (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Galatians 6:1-5).
  • Enjoy yourself in the Lord – don’t merely have fun for the sake of your own pleasure. Dancing, drinking and chatting aren’t ends in themselves. Do everything for the glory of God and the service of others (1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Timothy 4:4).3

 

Admittedly, Romans 14:23 sounds fairly absurd and impossible to follow. Here’s a helpful article: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/whatever-is-not-from-faith-is-sin-really.

2 For an intellectual discussion on how spiritual formation is shaped by practice and how cultural liturgy defines worship, see ‘Desiring the Kingdom’ by James K. A. Smith.

3 To read more about how we glorify God through the gifts he gives us, see ‘Desiring God’ by John Piper or ‘The Things of Earth’ by Joe Rigney.

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