A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Compromise. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Compromise. Show all posts

May 30, 2023

God's Calling Us To Decide: Commitment vs Compromise?

It seems that Thomas Paine's historical quote becomes more appropriate with each passing day. These are the times that try men's souls ... welike Christians of the past, are facing a critical turning point in our faith. The Enemy is challenging every proclaimed Believer to stand firm in our commitment to follow the Lord. Notice I'm not talking about commitment in other facets of our lives, such as to our spouse, our families, our job, or even to our church. I'm talking about the kind of commitment that puts Jesus above everything and everyone else in our lives -- and that includes ourselves. 

Jesus promised that we would have trials in this life, and I believe we are just at the beginning of what will become supernatural tests of our faith. After all, the Bible tells us this will happen, and I'm always amazed at believers who try to circumvent this truth with modern theology that somehow we can avoid the affliction/suffering if we just worship more or work for a revival. Mind you, both worship and revival are desirable outpourings of our faith, but in facing the consequences of our compromises in the last half century, God needs our commitment to start doing things His way ... to follow Him all the way, all the time. 

What exactly does committing one's life to God look like? Some common understandings for the word commitment are responsibility to, obligation to, duty, dedication, allegiance, faithfulness, and fidelity. But here's the tough truth: giving God the commitment that He desires and demands is costly. Our commitment to Him must replace and override our commitment and loyalty to anything else -- causes, jobs, or family. And that means those relationships and connections can come to an end. If we are presented with an either/or decision, we must choose to follow Jesus and leave all else behind. Can you honestly say you would do this? If not, then we do not qualify to be His disciples.

If we are to fulfill our purpose on this earth, it is imperative that we understand there are tough trials headed our way; our endurance will be tested. And Jesus didn't pull any punches when describing the cost of being His disciple: If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. Jesus showed us what that looks like: selflessness, service, sacrifice, and total self-denial. We must be willing to sacrifice everything of this life for the privilege of following His example, even unto death. The question of our lives is Am I prepared to do this?

OR, in order to maintain the life I love, will I choose to make concessions and adjustments to His commands? I'm not saying that all compromise is bad or wrong. There are certain instances when God prefers we keep the peace and remain in harmony rather than cause undue strife and conflict. But when it comes to His holy and righteous commands, there can be no compromise. We have seen the consequences when Christians have relinquished their commitment to God [in favor of compromise] in the areas of abortion and marriage, for instance; and have turned a blind eye to child trafficking, child pornography, corruption in government, and immorality throughout our society. 

We may try to fool ourselves by saying, "I don't partake in any of those sinful activities", or if we do, we convince ourselves that God will forgive us because we still have Jesus. But that is not acceptable to our Holy God. It's okay to compromise on whether your Church uses wine or grape juice during Communion; or what charity you and your family decide to support. But when it comes to the Lordship and Authority of Christ in your life; or your moral convictions or rightly representing the Word of God, there can be no concessions or compromise -- no matter what it costs you! We must not only know and speak God's Biblical truth and commandments, we must walk them out and do them. A committed and real relationship with God demands that we obey Him in all things; that we look neither to the left nor the right -- compromise is never an option! 

I'm afraid, my fellow believers, that we have come to an apex in our country, in the world, and in our personal lives. If we take an honest look at our current state of affairs, it is quite evident that compromise has infiltrated our commitment. And the instability of our future reflects that. The impending trials we face are a result of our failure to give Christ sole authority over every decision made. We must return to true and uncompromising commitment to follow Christ, no matter the pain or cost. We must unerringly trust Him, fix our nature upon Him, and preserve His Holy principles and commandments. 

We cannot avoid the trials and, yes, tribulations that are coming -- Jesus, Himself, said we will experience them. But if we hold fast to our commitment to Him, He will help us through them. When we commit our whole life [heart, body, mind, soul and spirit] to Him, we receive His strength to endure and we will be empowered to serve Him in the midst of all things. So, will you agree with me to no longer suffer compromise in our areas of influence, but rather to commit to representing our Savior in all we do and say -- to surrender by trusting Him to be our sole authority in all matters and to be our moral compass in all our ways? "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments". That requires commitment, and there is no room for compromise. 

Psalm 119:9-16     How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word. With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments! I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me Your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of Your mouth. In the way of Your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and fix my eyes on Your ways. I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.


April 18, 2023

Defending The Word In An Age of Compromise

For the sake of this post, I am referring to all Believers as "preachers" of the Word when we share it with the lost. But how do we know we are preaching it "rightly"? After all, 2 Timothy 2:15 says, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of Truth. I don't know about you, but I take that very seriously, and I consistently pray that I am representing God and His Word accurately and well. 

As we look upon our religious culture in the 21st Century, it is becoming quite apparent that there are diverse "messages" out there, all proclaiming to represent the rightly divided Word of God. But they can't all be correct, since there are contrasting views within "the Church" on God's acceptance of homosexuality; on the relevance of spiritual warfare; on the definition of the Great Commission; on His acceptance of worshiping other gods (sadly); and even on how we are to honor rituals and traditions.

How do we know, these 2000+ years later, that we are in alignment with the teachings that Jesus commanded the Apostles to carry forward as "the Church"? From the very beginning, there was an ardent desire to preserve the Lord's teachings accurately and authentically. It's important for us to know how those teachings became theology and doctrine, and just how difficult it became to do that without letting human error creep in, whether consciously or subconsciously.

I hope you will suffer me to give a cursory history of the struggle to "rightly handle" the Word of God -- from the very beginning. Just in the first 300 years, Christ's teachings were rendered and interpreted through several groups which have become known as the Early Church Fathers. You have the "Apostolic Fathers", who were a group of early Christian leaders and authors who lived shortly after the 12 Apostles. Their writings are typically dated between AD 80–180. Most of the Apostolic Fathers are believed to have known the Apostles personally or were connected to them in some way. The apostolic church fathers were the ones like Clement of Rome who were contemporaries of the apostles and were probably taught by them, carrying on the tradition and teaching of the apostles themselves. Polycarp and Clement are considered two of the imminent Apostolic Fathers, and they soon became embroiled in presenting truth to counter the theological heresies of Gnosticism and Docetism. Gnostics believed that anything done in the body was inherently evil and sinful, but it didn't really matter, because real life existed in the spirit realm only. Docetism promoted that Jesus was never fully human; He only "seemed" to have a body, and may have been somewhat divine. 

The ante-Nicene fathers were those who came after the apostolic fathers and before the Council of Nicea in AD 325. Such individuals as Irenaeus, Ignatius, and Justin Martyr are ante-Nicene fathers. The post-Nicene church fathers are those who came after the Council of Nicea in AD 325. These are such noted men as Augustine, bishop of Hippo, who is often called the father of the [Roman Catholic] Church because of his great work in Church doctrine; Chrysostom, called the “golden-mouthed” for his excellent oratorical skills; and Eusebius, who wrote a history of the church from the birth of Jesus to AD 324, one year before the Council of Nicea.

But even these zealous Early Church Fathers could not keep the Enemy of God from working his own agenda and begin infiltrating the Church with false and counterfeit teachings and doctrines. The Apostolic Fathers were passionate in presenting the gospel just as the apostles taught them, but became increasingly involved in defending the gospel from these heresies, rather than presenting Jesus's teachings in their purest and authoritative form. The very fact that the Nicene Council was convened in AD 325 is evidence that there was a growing fragmentation in the Church between various theologies and doctrines. What followed in the way of commentaries and endless examinations among these disparate groups undoubtedly has led to centuries of interpretations [and denominations] led by theologians such as Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and the post-Enlightenment theologians like Karl Barth. 

As we consider this history, we have to ask ourselves this question: So, do all these varying religious opinions down through the centuries meet the approval of God by the standards He sets in His Word? Which of these messages come from human wisdom, and which are revealed through the Spirit of Truth in the Bible? Which messages rest in the wisdom of men, and which in the power of God? 

These may seem like elementary questions, but I think we need to be very aware of the Enemy's tactics in these Last Days. I am seeing everything from a powerless Gospel being preached, to a dangerous message of unity among different gods and religions; that is not Biblical. The Word is the power of God to save us from eternal hell. But that Word must not be weakened, watered down, or compromised. The very definition of the word compromise is this: a middle state between conflicting opinions or actions reached by mutual concession or modification; an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions; the acceptance of standards that are lower than is desirable. Do any of those definitions sound like they define the Nature of our God? Does He make concessions or allowances for His laws and commandments -- or ever lower His standards?

Yet, we are now paying the consequences in our society because of compromise; because of our willingness to undermine the Word of God by embracing cultural lifestyles that do not conform to the commandments of the God we pray to. There is no "happy medium" where God is willing to adapt His Glory, Majesty, or Sovereignty to fit our ideas of theology, justice or mercy. Nor is He willing to compromise His order of divine government with corrupted and unholy social ideologies that subvert His righteous rule of the nations. It is time that we, the true Believers in the One True God, declare our unyielding and unshakeable faith in the accurate Word of God. It's time to step into our authority to preach the Word as laid out in 2 Timothy 4:2: "proclaim the Word of God and stand upon it no matter what! Rise to the occasion and preach when it is convenient and when it is not. Preach in the full expression of the Holy Spirit —with wisdom and patience as you instruct and teach the people". No more compromise! 

Thanks to the website gotquestions.com for the concise history of the Early Church Fathers.

I Thessalonians 2:13   And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the Word of God, which is at work in you believers.