Good Christians are reading romance novels, sharing hotels rooms with the person they're dating, drinking, stalking married exes on Facebook, and watching TV shows with intense sex scenes. And other good Christians are not.
If you are trying to figure out if that thing you're thinking about is aaaaaactually a "sin", you're probably starting in the right place- Because you want to know. Chances are you won't find a verse that's exactly about it, so here are a few different perspectives to help you think about it in a fresh light.
Sin is anything that falls short of the glory of god. So the bad news is, if you have to ask about it, it is probably a sin. We all actually sin a LOT more than we think we do. Romans 3:23.
If you think of sin as something that separates us permanently from God, then the answer is No. If you are a follower of Christ, nothing you can do can separate you from his love. We are forgiven. Already. For anything we have done, are doing, or will do.
Does that mean it doesn't matter if we sin since we're forgiven? Should we prove that we are different than the "crazy" Christians by ignoring all of their rules? Forgiveness is so much bigger than that. Suddenly we CAN be the people we want to be, we don't have to be trapped by strong pulls or addiction. That's freedom. Read Romans 6.
Freedom in Christ is only restricted by God's love for us and our love for God (2 Corinthians 5:14). There are plenty of horrible things I could do to my kids or husband, and they wouldn't leave me. They're my family. We are committed for better or worse. But I know who I want to be as a wife and mother and I know they love me and I love them. I am not trying to do the minimum to avoid divorce, I make sacrifices and go out of my way to love on them because I am investing in a lifelong healthy and loving relationship with them. It's the same way in our relationship with God.
3. Does it threaten your intimacy with God?
Song of Solomon talks about catching the little foxes that threaten to ruin the vines (2:15). What it means is that in the relationship between these two lovers, little things sneak in. Not lions. Foxes. They nibble at the blooms on the vines, and if you let too many in these seemingly harmless creatures can ruin the whole vineyard.
Guilty pleasure confession. Reality TV dating shows. I know. Ridiculous! There's nothing wrong with it (other than that they are fake and poorly written ;)). It came to a point recently, though, that I had to stop watching for a while. As parents of two kids under two, we can get a little starved for romance from time to time. I was suddenly bitter that my husband didn't take me bungie jumping or to foreign countries for dates. That's really not fair! So I gave it up simply because it wasn't healthy for our relationship.
There are things that may not even be bad that are not healthy for the intimacy we have with God. Are there "innocent" things are negatively affecting your perception of or intimacy with God? It may not be sin, but guard your relationship with God with the same voracity as you would guard the most important relationship in your life. If you don't feel like you are starting from a place of intimacy, fight to get there. It might mean giving some things up, but it is more than worth what you will find in return.
4. Do you tell your friends about it?
Satan loves to work in the dark. If there is something that you are wondering "Is this bad?", ask a friend. Bring it up in your small group or with a trusted Christian friend. If it's not something you feel comfortable talking about, it's not a good thing. Get free of the grip! You already have freedom in Christ. Bring it into the light and ask a few trusted friends to pray with you through it and claim your freedom!
If you don't have a trusted Christian friend, ask God to bring it into his light and pray through it with Him! He will happily forgive you, love you, teach you and strengthen you. (Psalm 139:23-24, James 1:5, Romans 6:22)
5. Is it just not worth it?
Here is the crazy truth about sin: It's not about how much God will tolerate, it's really about how much YOU can tolerate.
Every little one takes you further from God, further from joy, and away from your true calling. Sin will bury you. The fruit of the Spirit in contrast with the results of living by this world are a stark and ugly contrast (Galatians 5:16-25). You don't have to live sin-free to live free from guilt and shame. God doesn't expect you to be perfect, He couldn't be more clear that you aren't and He's already forgiven you. But you can't live with the full joy of knowing that unless you let God speak to you moment by moment- telling you that you are free, forgiven, loved, and your life is meaningful. When we sin we break that relationship, end the open dialogue, and isolate ourselves in the dark. Is it worth it?
Sin will take you farther than you wanna go...leave you longer than you wanna stay...[and] cost you far more than you wanna pay. - Harold McWhorter
Let's live in victory and freedom. It's the life we were meant for. We can do it in God's power, and with a little help from one another.