Friday, May 14, 2010

Compromise In the Christian Life

I feel I need to be careful as I begin this column. I don’t want to offend anyone or make it seem like I have my life all together. That is certainly not the case. I do falter and need to get my own priorities straight from time to time. But there is just something that has been nagging at me for awhile and my goal is that some believers will be convicted to take positive action – never feeling shamed but feeling motivated to make a change.

You see, for a long time now I’ve seen an ever-increasing trend in the lives of “Christians.” That trend seems to be the trend of compromise.

I grew up in Christian circles. I grew up going to church and being around believers. I’ve never seen or felt what I do today within the church and amongst the social circles of born-again Christians. I feel that our lives have become so enmeshed with society that we don’t stand out anymore (on the whole.) We have lost the desire to set ourselves apart. In fact, that may be the last thing a lot of us want…to stand out and feel set apart. Yet that is exactly what God has called us to do.

I’ve seen compromise take root in our lives more and more. You can say that each person needs to judge what is right or wrong. I say we need to hold everything by the Bible’s standards.

The Bible says in “1 Timothy 2:9 "I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves."

So there should be a lot of clothing choices that we abstain from. There should be styles and trends that we don’t partake in. And for women, if you are showing off what should only be shown in a bedroom – I think that makes the Lord sad. Our bodies are very beautiful but there are some things that should only be enjoyed in the privacy of a husband and wife’s bedroom.

In Ephesians 5:4 "Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes - these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God."

How are we using our mouths? Do we take our most Holy God’s name in vain? Does it bother us when we hear others do that? Do we toss words around in our mouth that we know are ugly?

Philippians 2:15 "You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them."

Romans 13:13 "We should be decent and true in everything we do, so that everyone can approve of our behavior. Don't participate in wild parties and getting drunk, or in adultery and immoral living, or in fighting and jealousy."

Proverbs 21:2 "People may think they are doing what is right, but the Lord examines the heart."

We can rationalize all we want. Whether it’s drinking, smoking, immodest clothing, our selection in movies or books, or even the company we keep – but it all comes down to our hearts. Who is Lord of our hearts? Would someone else know that by watching me? If they saw me hanging out at the local bar and grill on a Friday night with friends – would they know my life is devoted to the Lord simply by watching how I speak, how I eat and drink, how I act????

We can say all we want about who we believe in and where our hearts lie. But our actions show much more. If we don’t prioritize church and being a part of a body of believers, if we don’t prioritize living clean lives before Him, then we are at great risk of compromising ourselves out of not only our calling from God, but out of a great blessing of walking out a life with Him on our side.

James 4:17 "Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it."

Living a life for the Lord is not about “rules.” It’s about discovering how intimate our relationship with God can get. It’s about learning, growing, and ministering to others with all that we are. It’s about surrendering ourselves to His plan for our lives and denying things that we’d want at times in order to receiver the greater blessing and benefit.

We have compromised all over ourselves as believers and Christians. We have put ourselves, our image, and our wants first making them more important. Yet God says –

Exodus 20:3 "Do not worship any other gods besides me."

Anything we place more importance on than God Himself, has become like a god in our lives.

If we are not willing to give up something, then that’s a huge red flag as to how important it has become to us. Believe me – God can ask us to give up anything. He can ask us to give up our friends, our house, our lifestyle – anything. Are you willing to let it go for Him?

Where have you allowed compromise to enter into your life? Where have you given over some ground to Satan? It’s time to let the Lord reclaim it and discover that only when you live in Him are you truly free. And how good it feels.

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