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Love in Christ
The love of Jesus is great, and so is the power of His blood to cleanse us, but we must love Him the way He wants us to love Him…with wholeheartedness and obedience. He has called us to be holy as He is holy, and perfect as He is perfect. We are therefore to strive to do exactly that with all our heart…even though we fail sometimes, we must not use God’s grace as an excuse to keep doing things that He hates. We need to honestly ask Him to help us root out and be rid of anything in us that is unlike Him, not merely ask Him to forgive it or cover it. If there’s anything in us that is unlike Him…knowing it should bother us enough that we want to be rid of it anyway, if we truly love Him.
And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments.
If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments,
that person is a liar and is not living in the truth.
But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him.
That is how we know we are living in him.
Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
-1 John 2:3-6
For the word of the LORD is right;
and all his works are done in truth.
He loveth righteousness and judgment:
the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
– Psalm 33:4-5
The statutes of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart: the commandment
of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
– Psalm 19:8
The words of the LORD are pure words:
as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
– Psalm 12:6
More to be desired are they than gold, yea,
than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey
and the honeycomb.
– Psalm 19:10
God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
– 2 Samuel 22:31
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
– Proverbs 30:5
Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.
– Psalm 119:140
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends,
let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit,
perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
– 2 Corinthians 7:1
For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep His commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.
But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.
Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
Other voices may tell me what they think I should do,
But I know, I am convinced,
What I really need is to trust and obey You.
They may tell me to be happy I need material things,
But all that’s so hollow compared
to the joy that You bring.
So many waste so much on things that don’t last,
Never seeming to learn the valuable lessons that lie in our past.
The lusts of the flesh, the eyes, and our pride,
Will only ever leave us empty inside.
Selfishness, self-seeking, self-serving
All steal from the glory and praise that You are deserving
I choose rather the only worthy pursuit,
To seek after You, to worship You in Spirit and Truth.
What we need is You Jesus, and You alone,
To follow You only, let You lead us Home.
What we need is to see how ugly and hateful is sin,
To turn from it, and have Your Holy Spirit
Thou art with me! What a comfort! With Your rod, You chasten me, as a dear son you receive, disciplining me with Your loving hand. O may I joyfully accept your correction, knowing it is a sign of Your great love, and it is for my good. With Your staff You guide me in the way I should go. What rest there is, what perfect peace, in this sweet communion with You. And yet, more wonderful still is all this with the assurance of Your promise never to leave nor forsake me.
O Lord, what a delight to be a sheep in Your pasture, to be shepherded by the King of kings and Lord of lords. May I be ever attentive and obedient to You, and take my delight in doing Your will and bringing You glory.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I do not walk alone, Thou art with me. And because You are with me, I will fear no evil. Though I may be wounded on the journey, Thou wilt heal me. Though Satan may tempt me to doubt, I have no need to, for You are faithful to every word, and though I may not see every detail of Your great plan, I will trust You, for You know best, You are always faithful, and it is my joy to follow You.
O Lord, remind us what our priorities ought to be.
Let us look at the world in the light of eternity.
Let us proclaim what You did
as You died on that tree,
What You accomplished at Calvary.
May we remember the victory that You won,
When rising from the grave, death was overcome.
How Salvation is extended to all, not only to some,
But given to all who believe in and obey
God’s only Son.
Yes, remind us dear Lord, that it’s You that we need,
Not material things, not the idol of greed,
May it be only Your voice that we heed,
And for Your great harvest may we plant
only good seed.
(Poem by K. Boyd)
No more marvellous thing could there be,
Than the King of Glory who died for me,
Who gave for me even His last breath,
Who rose again and conquered death.
How could it be that He loves me so?
I could never deserve it, this I know,
And yet He saved me, He saved my soul,
My all to Jesus truly I owe.
Jesus, Jesus, my all is for Thee,
You broke every chain, You made me free,
For all of my days I’ll trust and obey,
My wonderful Saviour, the Life the Truth,
Do you really only have to “believe on the name of Jesus”? Is obedience optional? What does the Bible say about these matters?
“And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”
Belief and obedience go hand in hand.
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.
Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.
Jesus’ own words in the 14th chapter of John make it clear.
“If you love Me, obey My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you.”
John 14:15-17 (NLT)
“Those who accept My commandments and obey them are the ones who love Me. And because they love Me, My Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal Myself to each of them.”
John 14:21 (NLT)
Jesus replied, “All who love Me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.
John 14:23 (NLT)
Anyone who doesn’t love Me will not obey Me. And remember, My words are not My own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent Me.
John 14:24 (NLT)
Jesus own words again, this time from the book of Matthew:
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of My Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to Me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you who break God’s laws.’
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:19 (KJV)
Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
There are other instances in the New Testament that also point to obedience as being an imperative part of the Christian life.
“We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey Him.”
In this way, God qualified Him [Jesus] as a perfect High Priest, and He became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey Him.
For it makes no difference whether or not a man has been circumcised. The important thing is to keep God’s commandments.
1 Corinthians 7:19
And for those who think by preaching repentance and obedience to Christ, we aren’t somehow “loving enough,” what does the Bible say?
We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey His commandments. Loving God means keeping His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:2-3
Here’s an important passage that makes it simple:
And we can be sure that we know Him if we obey His commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love Him. That is how we know we are living in Him.
1 John 2:3-5
Another year has come and gone, and God has remained the same. I’m so thankful for this journey with Him, and how He has changed my life and me as a person completely. Where there was no peace, there is now peace that surpasses all understanding. Where there was no joy, there is joy in the Lord. Where was no hope, there is the hope that is an anchor for the soul: Jesus Christ.
Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD,
who have no confidence in the proud
or in those who worship idols.
– Psalm 40:4 (NLT)
O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.
– Psalm 84:12 (NLT)
Friend, I pray today that if you don’t know Jesus, that you seek Him while He may be found. He is the greatest of Treasures, so worthy of all our love and worship. His love is matchless. His mercy is extended to anyone who will only repent of their sins and turn to Him. Anyone. Even me. Even you.
I could never put into words, no matter how many words I chose to use to try to describe, how excellent and wonderful, how majestic and praiseworthy is the Lord. I don’t know all that the future holds, but I know who holds the future, and I know He is faithful. What joy for those who trust in Jesus! And oh, what perfect peace!
My reason to live,
My reason to breathe.
The King of all.
The song that I sing.
The real reality,
Alive inside of me,
Broken chains, He made me free,
No words could ever say,
How He takes my breath away,
In His presence I long to stay,
My strength and peace are in Him,
All my life I live for Him,
For my heart He did so wonderfully win,
These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.
1 Corinthians 10:11
I wonder how many of us have read the Bible this way – as containing a series of examples for us to learn from. Both the Old Testament, and the new, are full of illustrations of what to do, and what not to do.
We find in this portion of scripture (1 Corinthians chapter 10) that Paul is talking specifically about the lessons to be learned from Israel’s idolatry. There are those who think idolatry isn’t an important issue, but it was important enough not only for Paul to address is specifically here, but to be warned against, time after time after time throughout the scriptures.
It is no small thing to have an idol. It is not an innocent thing, it is not a harmless thing, and it is certainly not a thing winked at by God.
God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him.
In context here, what was Paul preaching about? He was troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in Athens, and was preaching to the people about the real God, the One True God, and how He should not be viewed in the same manner as these idols. And Paul was right, as the idols he was preaching against were not merely things made of stone, wood, or metal, but an abomination to God Himself.
But what is idolatry? Is it merely the worship of some kind of statue? No, there are many forms of idols. Ephesians 5:5 tells us that a greedy person is an idolater, worshipping the things of this world. We see from this verse, that even at this point in the Church’s history, it was well known and taught that the definition of idolatry has a broader scope than merely bowing before an object or giving food offerings to a statue of a false god.
One website states:
Idolatry is the universal human tendency to value something or someone in a way that hinders the love and trust we owe to God. It is an act of theft from God whereby we use some part of creation in a way that steals from honor due to God. Idolatry conflicts with our putting God alone first in our lives, in what we love and trust (see Exodus 20:3-5; Deut. 5:7-9; Romans 1:21-23). In idolatry we put something or someone, usually a gift from God, in a place of value that detracts from the first place owed to God alone, the gift Giver. That thing or person is an idol. The way out of idolatry is always to love and to trust the gift Giver without interference from any gift or any thing other than God. We will then be able to love and to appreciate gifts appropriately, neither giving them too much power nor failing to be thankful for them. We will then be free indeed, and not in bondage or addiction to anything that cannot fulfill us or give us peace.
This is true, and idolatry is theft from God. There are many things in our world today that are made idols. Money, clothing, people, gadgets, food, entertainment, even brand names. And there is a part of creation very widely idolized by many Christians today that simply should not be – that part of creation is men, particularly men of the celebrity kind. These celebrities are worldly, they lead people away from Christ whether knowingly or unknowingly, and yet many in the Church see no problem with embracing them and what they stand for.
These celebrities, of all fields, be it movies, music, sports, television or what have you, all lead people away from Christ. They teach that it’s okay and actually encouraged to seek fame, and fortune. They teach that it’s okay to take the Lord’s name in vain, and then to thank Him with empty words when they are presented with a little golden trophy that tells the world how “great” this human being is instead of God. They teach that it’s okay to sin, to act like the world and then call yourself a Christian when it’s convenient.
But the fact is this kind of behaviour will only appeal to a heart uncircumcised. A true follower of Christ will be disgusted, offended, and upset by these idols and how they are leading so many people astray.
“When God raised up his servant, Jesus, He sent him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways.”
If you read the Bible, you can see that there are many patterns that are woven throughout it, of history repeating itself, and mankind repeating himself – and often not in good ways.
The Israelites in the old testament were quick to forget the miracles God did for them. They were also quick to run to mischief, turning their back on God seemingly only moments after He had done a great thing for them, in favour of the abominations that were their idols.
Even after many very physical displays of God’s majesty and sovereignty, they still forgot Him in the midst of abundant blessings and in moments when discomfort came again. They continued to forget His power.
No sooner had they left the bondage of Egypt, having seen the ten plagues – an awesome display of God’s power – then they panicked, as soon as pharaoh and his army pursued them in the desert. God had done so much…but they didn’t believe He could protect them from this fast approaching threat. Had Moses took them out here to die?
Even with the vast majority of them being filled with unbelief, God did another miracle by parting the sea for them to cross safely. The Israelites did cross without injury, and they beheld as pharaoh and his army were consumed by the very waters they had just passed through.
When they were hungry, God gave them manna from heaven. But yet they failed to be lastingly thankful and failed to have faith that He would provide them with water. Even so, with great love and mercy, He provided them with water! They grew to despise the blessing of manna, growing tired of eating the same thing day after day. They demanded meat, and even said (as they had many times by this point) that they would have been better off in Egypt. Even so, God provided them with meat – with quail.
These people demanded physical miracle after miracle, and even when they were given them, things they could behold with their own eyes, things they could touch, eat, and drink – they still forgot God and rebelled against Him.
In the New Testament we find during the earthly ministry of Jesus Himself, that the Jews were looking for a Messiah who would come to set up an earthly kingdom that he would win by waging war against the Romans.
I posted the following as a note on Facebook, recently, and I felt I should share it here, on my blog, as well.
A while ago, I tried on some purple nail polish. I usually don’t go for dramatic colors on my nails anymore, and in fact, don’t wear nail polish very often at all. But on this day, I thought I’d give it a try. I wasn’t sure if my husband would like it, and while applying it, I did wonder what he would think, but I put it on anyway.
Turns out he didn’t like it. I said I’d remove it later, at first intending to wait until later that night. But knowing he didn’t like it made the color on my nails bother me, and after a couple of minutes I found myself hurrying to remove it – just wanting it gone so that my nails would look the way he liked them again – natural.
To most people, nail polish is such a trivial thing: but there’s a lesson in here.
There are times we do things that we’re not sure God will like. We may even wonder what He would think of what we’re thinking of doing. But if we’re unsure, we shouldn’t just plough ahead anyway…we should find out first, and if He wouldn’t like it – don’t do it. There are times when we will have done something that God doesn’t approve of, and He will let us know – how we handle that is important. We shouldn’t be like the world, who would get indignant and say, “It’s such a small thing, get over it, I want to have my way just a little bit here and there.”
Instead our hearts should be saying (and not just our lips), “I’m sorry, Lord, Your opinion matters to me more than my own.” And then we should haste to correct our ways the best we can…and leave the rest in God’s hands, trusting Him to help us change the things that we cannot change on our own.
According to CBC’s Here and Now (Newfoundland provincial news), There are many MUN students in this province that cannot find the Atlantic Ocean on a map, or other basic knowledge of the globe. That’s a saddening commentary on the education my peers have attained.
What’s sadder is an equal (if not greater) amount of ignorance and ill education in the church! People who don’t know what’s really in the scripture…why? Because they can’t be bothered to actually study it. They rely on the opinions of men instead of learning for themselves, “whether these things are so” like a Berean. Not only is it expected of a student to crack open their textbooks and study, but it should be expected of a Christian to open their Bible and study it. How else do you expect to be able to listen to someone talk and know if it lines up with scripture or not? By comparing it to a preacher’s opinion, which can err, or by comparing it with the scriptures themselves?
When you were a child and studied for a test, did you study what your friends thought about the material, or the material itself? And how well did that work? Without a doubt, a better score is gotten by studying the actual material. Likewise, unless you study scripture, you’re just not going to get a good understanding of God, of Biblical history, the importance of obedience to Christ, or the rebellious nature of man. In fact, it’s this very rebellious nature which plays a part in why Bibles are going unread by so many professing Christians.
Reading the Bible – really reading it, not just skimming it, not just reading the one or two verses pointed to by your devotional, but really, prayerfully reading it – you find out that it really is what it claims about itself:
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Yes, reading this Book can be uncomfortable at times, yes, you WILL be convicted. You will come to realize with more depth that God is great and mankind is, as a whole, foolish and wicked.
Humanity is supposed to be so ‘intelligent’ these days…yet the generation in Universities and colleges now (my age) can’t find themselves on a map. People think they’re so smart…but in reality mankind is going BACKWARDS not only spiritually but even with their knowledge of their own geography. And without a doubt, other areas of their education.
Yes, mankind as a whole has acquired so much knowledge…but who really has it? Or what? In reality it’s stored in books (which people don’t want to read), and on the internet. Many students make haste for their smartphones, tablets, etc to google something they need to know. Little is kept as head knowledge by many of today’s students. So what happens if you lose your internet connection? That resource you tap into has gone, what knowledge do you have now to help you face life?
For most young people (in reality, people in general), their heads are filled with secular song lyrics, video games and the hotkeys thereof, movies, TV shows, gossip, and other forms of entertainment. Many can recite to you the ‘vital stats’ of their idolized sports stars, actors, or musicians.
But they won’t be able to tell you (without Google) what James 4:4 says, or John 14:15, or recite the Ten Commandments. They won’t be able to tell you what repentance means, or what the significance was of the veil in the temple being torn in two when Jesus died on the cross.
These days…they can’t even seem to point out where each of the seven continents are!
And for many church goers, their heads are filled with: guess what? Secular song lyrics, movies, TV shows, gossip, and other forms of entertainment. Many can recite to you the ‘vital stats’ of their idolized sports stars, actors, or musicians. But most won’t be able to tell you (without using google) what James 4:4 says, or John 14:15, or recite the Ten Commandments. They won’t be able to tell you what repentance means, or what the significance was of the veil in the temple being torn in two when Jesus died on the cross.
These days, they can’t even seem to wrap their head around the idea that they should really read and study their Bible, because a textbook is to a student what a Bible is to life!
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
And if you wonder what James 4:4, John 14:15, and the Ten Commandments are, here they are:
You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.
If you love me, obey my commandments.
The Ten Commandments:
1. You must not have any other god but Me (Jesus Christ).
2. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind.
3. You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God (ie take in vain). The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.
4. Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God.
5. Honour your father and mother.
6. You must not murder.
7. You must not commit adultery.
8. You must not steal.
9. You must not testify falsely against your neighbour.
10. You must not covet.
You need to study the Bible to know what it actually says. If you don’t, it’s so much easier to be blown about by every wind of doctrine, so easy for you to get complacent in your walk, so easy to be between lukewarm and cold. For many people, the indoctrination given to them by secular media has closed their minds to the things of Christ and opened them to all kinds of sin, both to tolerate it and to partake of it. This should not be so.
If you are a Christian and you love God, and you can read, what keeps you from reading His word? In the same way that a wife cherishes a love letter from her husband (and vice versa), so too should a Christian cherish and hunger continually for the Word of God…His love letter to us.
Be a Berean!
And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.
It’s a sadly all too common thing these days for people to lash out at the preaching of obedience to Christ by crying ‘don’t judge me!’ supposing to back up their position by adding such phrases conveniently pulled from scripture such as ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’ and ‘Let him who is without sin cast the first stone’. But are these scriptures even fully understood? The fact is…by most people, they’re not.
First of all, if someone is preaching obedience, or preaching against specific sins, or are addressing you personally, and in your mind (or by your mouth) your response is ‘don’t judge me’, you should examine your heart honestly. There is something in there that causes you to say that. Often this is the response of someone who is under conviction but fighting against it.
The cry of our hearts as children of God should be:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
Understand that God doesn’t only speak through His word (the Bible), He also speaks through His servants. He will use men and women who truly know Him to preach and teach His truth – and that includes preaching against sin. God is Holy, and God doesn’t wink at sin.
God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now He commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to Him.
Acts 17:30 (NLT)
I’ve heard it suggested more than once that if one were to just go about their business never judging anyone in any way shape or form ever…that God wouldn’t judge them. This logic is flawed. God is the supreme judge…He will bring (is bringing) His judgement to the world, and He will judge every single one of us. God’s judgement begins in the House of God. No warped theory or head buried in the sand will be able to avoid that.
His judgements have come to the world in the past, and they come now, to wake up His sleeping Bride and to deal with those who continually reject Him. The hearts that can turn to Christ He will draw to Himself…no matter what it takes to do it! And those who will continue to rebel against Him…will pay for it!
Then, when the time comes, He will judge the dead, and reward His servants the prophets, as well as His holy people, and all who fear His name, from the least to the greatest. And He will destroy all who have caused destruction (corruption) on the earth. (Revelation 11:18)
For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1 Peter 4:17
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement
Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgement upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
It would be far wiser to listen to the uncomfortable conviction and turn away from sin, then to put up the walls of ‘don’t judge me’, and block out the warnings against sin. And it’s better to heed God quickly, and not resist Him. Such warnings are delivered with love and trembling, though you may not see or feel it. Such warnings are delivered to try to spare you from God’s judgements and snatch you from the brink of Hell – but ultimately it is up to you whether you heed them or refuse to listen.
‘Judge not…’ on the surface this verse would appear simple enough, but we have a problem if that is the case. Humans make judgements both consciously or subconsciously all the time. You judge the weather when choosing your clothes. You judge whether food tastes good or not. You judge whether you like certain colors or not. You judge whether something is clean or not. You judge whether someone is treating you the way you want them to, or not. We spend our days doing a lot of judging.
What this verse is specifically referring to is rash, harsh, fleshly judgement – the kind that does no benefit to anyone. The kind that says, ‘You‘re not attractive enough to be my friend’, for example, or ‘your words aren’t smooth enough so I won’t listen to you.’ These are fleshly judgements that serve no good purpose.
But there is a righteous judgement that benefits the tender hearted. This is a judgement intended to correct. The same way that parents correct their children, God will give correction to His children, because of His love. God has a clear path for us to follow, but often times we can get sidetracked, wander, or stray completely. It is God’s love and mercy that puts us in a place where we get confronted about what we do wrong…no matter how he chooses to deal with us.
For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.
God tells us we will know people by their fruit – this is also judging, because you cannot examine a fruit without making a judgement about it, whether it is good or bad.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Moreover, we are given in God’s word clear directions on how to judge:
Fear the LORD and judge with integrity, for the LORD our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes.
2 Chronicles 19:7
God actually commands His servants to judge righteous judgement. For example, He asked Ezekiel to ‘judge the city of murderers (Jerusalem) and to confront them about their sins!
Will you judge, son of man? Will you judge the city of murderers? Then tell it about all the disgusting things that it has done.
Ezekiel 22:2 (God’s Word)
So…judge not? Judge not a harmful, useless, fleshly judgement. Judge not the way the world does, with no godly motive. Judge not to condemn, but to point and to lead closer to Christ and to lead to obedience to Christ.
– – – – – – –
‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…’
This verse quotes Christ. Yes, it is true Jesus said this, and we all know the story of what happened when He said it. But most people who quote this to defend themselves forget key facts surrounding this quote.
I would point out that the stones were intended not to bring the woman to repentance, but to simply fill the letter of the law by killing her. Without a doubt, those holding the stones weren’t looking at her with love, but with hate for her sin. They had condemned her.
Christ stepped in and spared her life out of love. But there’s something else, too. He told her to ‘go and sin no more’. The same is asked of us, by Jesus. He spares our lives when we ask him to save us and repent…and He tells us ‘go and sin no more’ (John 8:11), to be ‘perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect’ (Matt 5:48).
The question is, are you saved? Saved from what? Did Christ save you from idolatry? From lying, cheating, and stealing? From adultery or fornication? From lust, pornography, or other addiction? If you want to be saved from hell, you must also be saved from sin. That’s not to say the people of God never stumble, but we are absolutely not permitted to habitually, wilfully sin, using God’s grace as an excuse to do so. The same rule applies to all of us…if we sin, when we become aware of that sin, we must repent (turn away) from it.
It is not casting stones at a person who is in sin to tell them that they are in sin. It is stating facts. It is not casting stones at a person to tell them they need to repent, it is love.
My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
Music is never just ‘entertainment’. Music is a language more profound than regular human speech. It is spiritual – whether you use it to worship God or not. Music has the ability to influence the mind, the body, and the soul. It can inspire, and it can encourage action. What message is your music giving you?
Music’s purpose was to praise and worship God. Does the music you listen to, and the music you make, do that?
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.-Colossians 3:16
If the message about Christ, in all it’s richness, fills your life…you won’t need and you won’t WANT the songs of the world! The songs that praise sin instead of God will disgust you. If you’re still ‘entertained’ by songs that promote violence, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, and all other manner of sin – songs by singers who mock God – if you really can’t see that there is something wrong with this…then you don’t really know Jesus yet, and you are burdened by the yoke of the secular world.
I know what it’s like – I was there. After I got saved I still listened to secular music (in smaller amounts than before, listening to more and more Christian music), but I didn’t part with my secular music right away. I knew something was wrong and that I should probably ditch it, but I “liked” it. I was ensnared by it, brainwashed and hypnotised by the melodies and lyrics of the world that I’d gotten so accustomed to. Looking back I see it as so foolish – but I was in direct rebellion of God!
God mercifully gave me the nudge I needed to get rid of it! He used a situation with the man who is now my husband, to give me the fatherly slap in the face I needed to see that it was idolatry in my life and it needed to go! I listened to the Holy Spirit’s conviction this time and deleted every secular song I had on my computer and threw out every secular CD I owned. Over 3000 songs on the computer, well over 100 CD’s.
But I didn’t stop there. Music is not the only secular brainwasher. I also deleted scores of secular movies and threw out an entire garbage bag of nothing but DVDs and videos. “What a waste of money to throw them out” the flesh said. “What a waste of money buying this trash in the first place!” the spirit said!
The comic books, the romance novels, everything except text book type educational books went out. And I’m glad it did! I regret the time I wasted with my nose buried in silly books, playing pointless games in unhealthy amounts, and listening to noise that did everything it could to distract me from and block out the voice of God!
I praise God that it didn’t work forever – He broke through it all and stirred my heart. He caused me to realize the sheer vanity of it all. Even before I got saved He was there, that small voice in my head, surfacing every once in a while to tell me that my gaming was meaningless and a pointless waste of precious time. I’m so glad that Jesus was always there…not just waiting for me to wake up, but giving me the nudges that, in time, stirred me from my media-coma-sleep.
It is terrible to be living in such a way that your main goal in life is to be entertained. It is awful to be enslaved by worldly amusements that leave you dry, always wanting more. The music may give you a fleeting sense of ‘happiness’ but when the music stops, it’s gone, you’re dry again, you seek out more to fill the void – a void that only Jesus can fill.
Real joy is found only in Jesus, and real freedom too. To trade slavery to the flesh to slavery to Christ is the wisest thing to do. If you are dry, seek Living Water. Stop drinking from the poisoned worldly cistern. It will only make you more and more ill, and draw you away from Christ, though at first you may not notice it happen.
I know what it was like to not want to give the secular stuff up. But I’m on the other side of it now and I’m telling you I don’t regret it for one second. Sure, when I did part with it, there was a small part of me that still wanted to cling on to it – that’s the flesh. I pushed my flesh aside to obey God, and the next day He told me through a devotional that I did the right thing. It wasn’t a daily devotional, it was one in a devotional Bible. A bible I usually didn’t use. That day though, I just flipped it open, and the first thing my eyes landed on was:
Since that day there have so many reassurances, so many ways that the Lord has shown Himself to me…things I never would have seen while blinded by the world. Thank You, Jesus – You are so wonderful.
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.-Ephesians 5:17-19
I can tell you exactly what the will of the Lord is. The will of the Lord is that He be your ONLY God, and that you OBEY Him. Get rid of your idols. They aren’t stone and wood anymore…they are many things. And I can assure you 100% that secular music, movies, TV, sports etc IS idolatry. They even call themselves with idolatrous terms. “So and so is a hockey STAR. This girl got to meet her IDOL. Next time on American IDOL” and so on.
None of the world’s “entertainment” is going to draw you closer to Christ, and if you truly walk with God, you won’t be entertained by it…so why keep it? If you refuse to get rid of it…there’s the proof right there that it’s an idol to you, because you’d rather keep it then obey God.
Thy praise, how shall I sing it?
Thy great works, how shall I tell?
Thy great love, how shall I proclaim it?
You, O Lord, in whom I do dwell?
Words could never convey it,
No melody could capture it well,
No song could fully grasp it,
Only a part, could I manage to tell.
My Lord, it is only to You I commit,
Only You can save souls from Hell,
And by Your blood, me You did acquit,
When on my knees, before You I fell.
My old way, I never more want it,
Your way I now follow and tell,
Abba Father, how gladly I cry it,
In tenderness, love, and mercy, You excel.
My love is for You, my King,
My praise is for You, my Saviour,
My worship is for You, my Jesus,
My everything is for You, forever.
by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]
John 17 is all about Jesus’ prayers for His disciples and His people, for those who followed Him and believed in Him. Yet, Jesus prayed not only for His followers, but “. . . for them also which shall believe on me through [the disciples’] word” (verse 20).
What a powerful truth! Jesus’ phrase, “them also which shall believe on me,” includes you and me. Jesus was praying for us when He walked this earth in the flesh. Centuries ago we were on His mind. He even recorded this prayer in His Word, knowing we would be reading it. He wants us to know He was interceding for us to the Father.
Beloved, this prayer which Jesus prayed for us did not vanish into thin air. It has been burning on God’s altar all this time and God has accepted His Son’s prayer for each of us. Our salvation is the result of Jesus’ prayers. We are in Him today because God answered His prayer for us.
“But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:24-25).
Right now Jesus is praying for transgressors who haven’t yet turned to Him. Scripture says He can save to the uttermost — meaning “to the end of time” — all who will ever come to Him.
Throughout my years in ministry I have seen many drug addicts and alcoholics get gloriously saved. Each time I would think, “This one had to have a praying mother or interceding grandmother somewhere in the past. God is answering those holy warriors’ prayers.”
Now I see something better than that, something far more powerful and effective. It wasn’t just a mother or grandparent who was praying for those who now believe. Jesus was praying for them all along. “I pray for them . . . also which shall believe on me through [the disciples’] word” (John 17:9, 20).
If you have been running from the Lord, you will never get away from His prayers. The Father answers His Son and all who resist Him are hardening their hearts to the prayers of Christ who prayed for them on earth, and is praying for them still.
This verse of Revelation is speaking about the woman (the Church). The remnant of her seed (Individual Christians). Observe the description of the remnant of her seed: those who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Notice the use of the word ‘and’. It doesn’t say, those who keep the commandments of God OR have the testimony of Jesus Christ. It uses the word AND. Why is the dragon wroth with them? Because he hasn’t been successful in convincing them to become complacent, to indulge in worldliness, idolatry, prayerlessness, and laziness. They haven’t been bound by the traps he set to keep them from God, nor bound by the fear of men that would keep them of proclaiming the truth.
They have the testimony of Jesus Christ. They obey His commandments. They are God’s true children, with enough faith to face any trial. They speak the truth, even though the majority of people don‘t like it. They are protected by the hand of Almighty God. Because of this, they are dangerous to the enemy.
There are those who think that you don’t need to obey the commandments of God anymore. Well, if that’s the case, then why is it that in Revelation, the Christians, the ones so on fire that they’ve got Satan angry, are the ones who obey the commandments? He’s not making war with the cold or lukewarm. He’s not at war with the ones that don’t keep the commandments. He’s already got them stuck in a trap. He makes war with the ones who obey God’s commandments.
Note that the verse doesn’t say “the remnant of her seed, those who don’t need to obey the commandments of God anymore because of grace, He only sees the blood, now.” Think you don’t need to obey the commandments? Then I ask you, since it’s one of the most dominant features of the Bride of Christ, how would this notion make you part of the Bride?
Obedience…it all goes back to obedience. And those who come up with excuses for not being obedient are rebellious.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
1 Samuel 15:23
God has not changed. His commandments have not changed. Unfortunately, mankind as a whole, has not changed! Still rebellious against God and right in his own eyes.
Thinking you are right in your own eyes, does not make it so. Abiding by the rules of men does not always make you right in God’s eyes. Abortion is murder, regardless of what man’s laws say. Homosexuality is sin, no matter what man’s laws say. Biblical truth is right, no matter what man says! We need to strive for holiness and measure ourselves against God’s standards, not man’s standards. Obey God’s commandments!
Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight, so all will go well with you.
And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.
And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.
Here we have an archaic display that reminds us of the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ blood sprinkled on you is a sign of a covenant that you made with God. A covenant that you made to turn from your sins and follow Him, understanding that you are a sinner in need of a saviour, and that He is the only Saviour.
Here is something that a lot of people seem to forget: obedience. Just as the Israelites agreed when they heard the laws of God to obey them, we must in this day be obedient to Christ. The history of the Israelites is supposed to be an example to us – of what NOT to do! They agreed to obey God, but time and time again they became too comfortable and complacent when surrounded by the blessings and protection of God.
They lost their fear of the Holy One of Israel. They decided to chase after foreign gods, to go each his own way and do whatever he wanted, committing spiritual adultery and falling into all kinds of perverse sins. They listened to false prophets who told them that all would be well, and God would keep protecting and blessing them.
When the real prophets came in, warning them of danger and telling them to repent, they mocked, attacked, and by many means persecuted God’s real messengers.
Do you want to know who the real false prophet is? It’s the one who won’t warn you of danger! It’s the one who won’t tell you to repent! It’s the one that preaches smooth things – the one that tells you, it’s okay, keep living like you are, God will keep blessing and protecting us – even increasing our blessings.
Do you want to know who the real prophet is? It’s the one that warns you about your sins! He makes you feel uncomfortable because he’s trying to shake you out of a deep, spiritual sleep. He warns you that you need to repent, because God is holy, and if you refuse to repent, you are choosing judgement rather than mercy.
So will you learn from the Israelites bad choices? Or will you repeat them?
With all the forms of entertainment and distraction in the world today, it’s very easy for people – for Christians – to forget the brevity, and the very gravity of life. How you follow and serve Jesus Christ is not a game. Neither is it a game when you disobey Him.
Christians need to walk in repentance. The attitude that says, “I don’t need to repent, I’m already under the Blood,” is dangerous and at best erroneous. The fact that so many of the people harbouring this attitude are using it to whitewash wilful sins of idolatry makes it a tragedy.
You can call a teacup a plate, but that doesn’t make it so. Likewise, you can call sports idolatry and attachment to secular entertainment innocent fun, but that doesn’t make it so. It’s worldliness. It’s filthy. It’s enmity with God.
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
You can try to excuse it with the ‘we’re only human, God understands’ statement. Yes, you are only human, yes, God -does- understand! He understands perfectly what’s in your heart and knows you don’t want to give up things that He would have you give up! And since you don’t want to give them up, even if they weren’t idols in the first place, they are idols now, because your unwillingness to let go of them is you placing them ahead of God on your priority list.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
“Yet without sin.” Jesus faced temptation as we do, but did not sin. Jesus has the power to help you overcome any addiction. He has the power to help you be rid of those idols. All you have to do is decide that He’s more important, and then ask Him to show you what to get rid of, and ask Him to help you do it!
He helped me conquer addiction to secular television, movies, books, and music. He helped me defeat videogame addiction. If He can do it for me, He can do it for you! He is more eager to help you, than you are to be helped.
Jesus, I could never on my own deserve Your mercy,
I’m so grateful for Your love,
Your goodness overwhelms me,
And I love You because:
Through all my days, both fair and hard,
You are always there,
You have brought me so far,
I trust You, my God, I trust You.
You’ve helped me come this far,
And there’s still far to go,
Just how far, only You know,
And I trust You, my God, I trust You.
Please stay with me on this road,
And keep me on Your path,
Lord keep me on my knees,
Humble at Your feet.
I don’t know what lies in the miles ahead,
Or which breath will be my last,
But I know I’m graven on Your palms,
You hold me in Your hand.
You’ve brought me so far,
And there’s still far to go,
Just how far…only You know,
But I know, Jesus, that You are in control.
You keep me safe,
You’re my Hiding Place,
You are my refuge,
And I run to You.
You are my Father,
You are my King,
You are my Joy, my Song, my Peace,
You are my Everything.
Thank you, Jesus.
Thank You for loving me,
Thank You for showing me,
That you are the Life, the Truth, and the Way.
Thank You for saving me,
Thank You for teaching me,
Thank You for wiping each tear away.
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are living in a day where more than ever, we need to manage our time well. So many people spend great portions of their lives ‘killing time’ with amusements that are of no real value. The sand in the hourglass of history is ever closer to running out, and what are many in the Church doing? Playing with the things of the world. Being amused by the same things that amuse the ungodly, going to the same theatres, sports events, concerts as the unsaved – not as witnesses passing out tracts or preaching the Gospel to the lost, but to partake of their sins.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
I can’t convey in words how truly detrimental it is to play with worldly entertainment. Even the things that look harmless truly are, once you are truly awake and can see it for what it is…things that distract you from Christ. Noise that would keep you from hearing Him. Noise that would turn you against Him.
We are told not to touch the unclean thing (what God calls unclean) if we want the Father to receive us. How then can we justify doing the very same things the ungodly do? How, if you do the things the ungodly do, things which separate from Christ – how can you expect them to see Christ when they look at you or I?
They really can’t. What they see is something lukewarm that they can accept and be friends with. And this is the problem. Sin can’t accept and be friends with holiness. It just doesn’t work. The sin must go. Worldliness can not be friends with Jesus, worldliness must go.
And saying, ‘we are supposed to be peacemakers’ does not in any way excuse joining the sinner in his sin. It doesn’t excuse worldliness. It doesn’t excuse continually failing to use opportunities to witness and instead going with the crowd.
We really need to consider how precious time really is. Once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. At the end of your life what will you regret more? Witnessing with love to the lost, or wasting your time partaking of the very things that are part of why they are so lost?
Satan convinced Eve to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We all know what the consequences were of that. But that cunning serpent still whispers in ears convincing people that it’s okay to partake of secular music, television, movies, books, games…you won’t die…your eyes will be opened and you shall be as gods. Oh, these things are surely harmless, just a bit of fun, relax, don‘t be so uptight. But no, these things create separation from Christ. To not have Christ, is to be dead while you live.
People can go ahead and consider me brainwashed, or a religious zealot, or whatever. But there is something I know. And that is when the Holy Spirit has wanted me to give something up, and I’ve given it up, there’ve been people who think I’m nuts for doing it. I have lost friends over my choices to follow Christ and obey Him. I’ve had people say they liked me better the way I was before. I just take that as confirmation that I’m doing the right thing, because if the world doesn’t like it, then it’s not of the world!
The fact is the people that are truly brainwashed are the ones that are so attached to their mass media that they will flat out refuse to let it go under any circumstance. Folks, if you -refuse- to let something go, even if you know it’s what God would have for you to do, that thing you cleave to has become an idol in your heart.
Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
Ephesians 5:3-5 (NLT)
Let’s make a checklist:
Now…we know these are things that we are to let there be NONE of. How many of these things are promoted by secular media?
Oh right…all of them.
Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
1 Corinthians 10:14
Flee from it…don’t bathe in it. Don’t dabble in it. Flee from it. The way many people clamour over their favourite musicians, actors, sports stars, etc should be a warning. The way people dress to imitate their idols should also be a warning. The fact that it’s a commonly used term by the secular world to call celebrities the idols of their fans should be a big warning.
The people in the media even describe it in terms that make it clear that it’s idolatry. Phrases like American Idol, movie star, ‘rock god’, these are terms that scream idolatry. If you’re a Christian they should also tell you to take no part in it, unless that part is to warn others about the dangers of it.
This morning I was listening again to a song I made a video for, recently. While listening, and reflecting on this past year and all that’s happened…all the ways God has shown me glimpses of Himself…how deep my love for Him has grown…my heart was overwhelmed by it all, and how much I long to see precious souls come to know my Savior.
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.
He lifted me out of miry clay. He drew me to Himself. He has shown me more love than I ever could deserve. He has given me more love than I thought a heart could hold. Words just can’t convey what burns in my heart, though I wish very much that they could. If you don’t know Jesus…you don’t know what it is to truly live, to truly love. You may think you do…but unless you have Jesus…you don’t.
You don’t need to wait until whatever you think the ideal circumstances are, to come to Jesus. And you don’t need to wait until all is perfect before you praise Him – in fact it’s important to praise Him when things are tough.
I was listening to a song recently, called Paul and Silas. There was a spoken part in which it was commented:
You know, the funny part, is that when Paul and Silas were in Prison, They didn’t complain to the Lord. They didn’t say, “Hmm, why am I in this predicament? What’s going on” You know what they did? They made music. You know what He did? He broke their chains, and He set them FREE!
And suddenly it hit me. I love how some things are revealed to me by my most Soverign King. It wasn’t when I was questioning God and complaining that my life was changed. It wasn’t when I repented, surrendered myself to Him and contented myself with having Him (though, that was the start, and a very good start). It was when I set my heart on praising God, and a big part of that was making music (singing His praises more and more, instead of only singing along to secular garbage). I know God’s been working on me for as long as I’ve been alive…but that was when He started undeniably breaking my chains one by one and He set me free from so much. And how free I am…if I was much more free I don’t think gravity could hold me.
I can’t even list all the things I’m now free of. Secular media, depression (my husband has it right when he says, depression is the absence of Christ), foul language, hatred, bitterness, emptiness, loniless at times, and so much more, God has helped me to get rid of. I’m not by any means saying I’m perfect now, or that I never slip up. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m a lot better than I used to be.
Oh this love for my Jesus, who set me free and helps me to stand.
“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” -Song of Solomon 2:15
He didn’t say, ‘go fix your problems, then come back and I’ll love you’. He said ‘Take US the foxes’. My precious Jesus, who loved me in spite of the foxes, saw value and beauty in a soul like me, when I didn’t even see it in myself. He didn’t say, come back when you’re problems are gone. He drew me to Him and offered to help me take on those foxes that I couldn’t ward off by myself. He protects and nurtures the tender grapes. Our tender grapes…the fruit of our relationship. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galations 5:22-23). I have more of each of these things than ever before, and it’s only with and through God that I have them.
I have more than enough reason to live now. The biggest reason is Jesus.
Do you know Jesus? Are you free?
Therefore brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
2 Thessalonians 2:15
Going to the books section of Amazon.com, and entering the word ‘Compromise’ in the search window returns more than 273,000 results. Fortunately, the first book on the list is by noted evangelical theologian Norman Geisler and author Ron Rhodes: Conviction Without Compromise: Standing Strong in the Core Beliefs of the Christian Faith.
Is it possible to be a Christian without compromising? One has only to read the New Testament to see that neither Jesus nor Paul ever compromised on matters of theological truth. And when Peter did, he received a stinging rebuke from Paul. (Galations 2:11)
Yes, there is room for concession at times on practical matters. But when it comes to giving in to critics of Christianity in order to spare their feelings, the Bible knows no such strategy. Christ and His gospel are a “stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (1 Peter 2:8) to those who choose to disagree.
When your faith or stand for Christ is challenged, ask yourself who’s disappointment you’ll regret most, the critics of Christ, or Christ Himself.
It is better to die for a conviction then to live with a compromise.
(The above text was taken from Pathways by David Jeremiah)
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Compromise is not something that should be in the church or in a Christian home. Compromise is what says, “Okay, do things the way the world does them, it’ll make our faith more cool and approachable”. Compromise makes allowances for pet sins that should, according to an uncompromised Word of God, be repented of, and purged, turning away from them completely.
Compromise is what raises generations of young people that have had the lines of what is right, what is wrong, and what is acceptable, so blurred that what should be viewed as wrong is accepted, and even lauded! With such an environment, at times it becomes difficult, without help, to distinguish what is okay and what isn’t…until one steps back and with a nudge in the right direction, sees things for what they really are.
Compromise is the enemy of Christianity. Compromise desensitizes us to things that ought to offend us. Compromise is one of Satan’s ways of infiltrating the church with the filthy things of the world, painting them as innocent, desirable, harmless. The same way he tempted Eve with the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, he tempts the saints of God with the lure of things that feed the flesh, starve the soul, and rob it of the desire to be in pursuit of holiness with the same basic whisper: “Did God say you shouldn’t? Oh, He’s wrong, it’s okay, it doesn’t hurt anyone.” When these things DO hurt people, whether it is realized or not, there are consequences to choices that involve feeding the flesh over feeding the soul.
Compromise is something I recently fell victim to, and so I speak from personal experience when I say that it’s as deceptive as the devil who uses it against you. There’s a whisper that tries to convince you that “it’s harmless” but in reality, it isn’t. But I thank God that like Peter, my poor choice was quickly seen and rebuked!
I saw what I had, regretfully, missed before and I repented of it with tears to Almighty God, who used this incident as a reminder to me that it is so important not only to stay on guard, but to continue to lean on Him for sight, because the things that tickle the flesh grieve and starve the soul, and they grieve God! Not only this, but it was used to show me that what the world considers trivial, can very easily be a very serious thing that offends God much. And what offends God should not in any way be entertaining to Christians. It can and will hinder your growth in Christ – be rid of it!
“14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16 And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:
“I will live in them
and walk among them.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
17Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,
and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.
Don’t touch their filthy things,
and I will welcome you.
18And I will be your Father,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
1 Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.”
2 Corinthians 6:14 – 7:1
So it boils down to a choice: Do we want to serve only our flesh, and by doing so, serve Satan, or do we want to serve Jesus Christ?
Serving Jesus Christ means following Him, which means by extension an uncompromised Word of God, and not compromising on His teachings and doctrines. It means choosing to be set apart from the world, because you cannot serve two masters. (Luke 16:13) It means putting pride aside and accepting proper correction and chastenings if and when you start to stray from your chosen path. It means repenting…not just once when you get saved, but any and every time that you become aware of something that you did that was wrong in the eyes of God. It means obeying God’s commandments out of love for Him and striving for holiness, knowing that his opinion matters infinitely more than the opinions of men.
To serve Satan…all you have to do is nothing. You may think you can sit on the fence and serve neither God nor Satan, but Satan owns the fence. He is pleased if you try to stay neutral, because if you’re neutral, you’re not serving God. And if you’re not serving God…that only leaves one other that you can be serving.
My choice is Jesus…and to let Him lead me like a little child, for I am His child. And though I may be relatively small in years, and in widsom, though I am small in strength, what I do have is His, because He has given it to me. The best possible use for all of His gifts, are to use them for Him!