One big challenge in Greek Life as a Christian is learning to navigate the party culture with self-control. Whether you are of age and are able to drink, or don’t drink at all, parties are a regular occurrence for Greeks. Contrary to what you may have heard, Christians are supposed to have fun! As Christians we are called to love our neighbor, which includes spending time with them and enjoying their company. In this case, our neighbors are actually our fraternity brothers and sorority sisters, and they happen to be the party people.
Following Christ and obeying His commands yields much more fun and excitement in the long run than doing whatever you want. But because we often make decisions which seem fun in the immediate, we deal with consequences that last much longer than the exhilaration of the initial thrill.
There are often two extreme partying backgrounds what Greeks come from. You may fall somewhere in the middle, but take a moment to examine your intentions when it comes to participating in the party scene with your friends.
You used to drink as much as you could, as often as possible. You went hard at parties, socials, formals without much concern for yourself or others. It's about having a great time!
But then you met Jesus and He calls you to have self-control and be of sober judgment. It's likely that you now struggle with the pressures of your old life of partying. All your old Greek friends want you to be the same old person. When we follow Jesus as it says in 2nd Corinthians 5:17, the old is gone and the new has come. We are a new creation.
Our habits, our mindsets, and actions should be different as Jesus transforms us from the inside out. This can cause friction in those old relationships.
Our habits, our mindsets, and actions should be different as Jesus transforms us from the inside out.
Greeks who experience this can often hear from their friends, “You aren’t any fun anymore, we want the old Joe Greek back," or “how come you don’t come out and drink with us anymore?” It is important to affirm the friendship with these brothers or sisters, but to not get into a place of temptation or compromise. If alcohol was a huge struggle before, then going out to the bars is probably not the best idea for working on self control. Perhaps instead, invite those drinking buddies out to lunch, to watch a movie, or to play basketball. The point is to connect with them in other contexts to affirm that the relationship is a priority.
You don’t participate in it, but you judge those who do make poor decisions and get drunk. While you keep yourself pure, often you disconnect yourself from your brothers/sisters.
This opposite extreme happens when a Christian enters the Greek System and experiences the party culture but completely isolates themself from it. Finding ways to be a follower of Jesus in the party culture is tough, but not impossible. Some suggestions would be to go to the parties and bring non-alcoholic drinks-Jones Sodas, Ice Tea, Root Beer, or water. If you go to a party, try to always have a beverage in your hand. If you don’t, it makes it possible for someone will fill your empty hand with something you might not want. Bring a supply to last the night, or if you only bring one beverage, make it a point to leave the party once you finish it.
What's Your Focus?
Whichever type you are at parties, focus less on what your brothers/sisters are doing, and more about the invitations that Jesus is giving to you there. Maybe He is inviting you to go love and care for that sister who just got dumped and is trying to drink away her pain. Perhaps He is inviting you to just have fun, dance, and be silly to show your brothers/sisters you can have a good time while still keeping your integrity, dignity, and faith.
Remember, Jesus didn’t isolate himself from those who were broken and in need, He spent the majority of His time loving and caring for them, but He kept himself pure and strong amidst the temptations.