A Life of Obedience, Not Compromise!
James R. Aist
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)
Who can say, “I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin”? (Proverbs 20:9). In this regard, I must confess that I am “a work in progress.” And I would venture to guess that the same is true of most modern Christians. But, heaven forbid that we should ever regard this condition as acceptable! In this article, I intend to step on a few toes (some of which are connected to my own feet!) in hopes that we all will begin to more fully live like believers. My focus will be on what we are feeding our born-again spirits through the various media (TV, radio, movies, books, magazines, internet, etc.) . So, please take a deep breath with me and allow the word of God to minister to your conscience.
The central message I am sharing here is that God has not called us to a life of compromise, but of obedience. A Christian acquaintance of mine once declared, “Its OK for me to watch anything I want to, so long as it doesn’t cause me to lose my faith in Christ.” That’s exactly the kind of attitude I’m calling out here. In this present world, we are bombarded daily with opportunities (i.e., temptations) to fill our minds – and thus, to feed our born-again spirits – with thoughts, images and behaviors that are not good and acceptable and perfect according to the will of the God we claim to serve. Every time we yield to these temptations, we are behaving as hypocrites, not faithful followers of Jesus, who gave His life as a sufficient sacrifice for our sins! We do not always consider our sins to be as serious as God does, but we should.
So, what, exactly, are these worldly “entertainments”, or subject matters, that we should not be entertaining ourselves with? Here is a short list, for our consideration: pornography, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, gender bending, cursing, profanity, lawlessness and mocking God. Regardless of how these themes and messages get into our minds – through our eyes or our ears or both – to the extent that we allow these things to enter under the guise of innocent entertainment, we are being conformed to the world, rather than being in the world but not of it. Jesus said, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world, since I chose you out of the world, the world therefore hates you. (John 15:19).” God chose us out of the world, and He expects us to stay out of the world, even if the world hates us for it!
Now, I am fully aware that there are a number of fellow Christians who insist that it is acceptable practice to use movies with immoral themes or messages as teaching tools to present the Gospel as a better way to live and prioritize one’s life. While its not my place to condemn anyone for using this approach, I do, nonetheless, have some questions to pose in this context: Is the Word of God no longer “…alive, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12); and is the Gospel of Jesus Christ no longer “…the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek? (Romans 1:16)? And, if God is going to save someone, does He really need us to resort to the use of immoral media entertainment to get their attention?
Finally, to more fully present, for our consideration, what the Bible has to say concerning these matters, I have assembled several additional and pertinent scripture passages for us to ponder, knowing full well that if one will not listen and learn from the Word of God, then one will surely not listen to me:
Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11);
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. (Psalm 66:18);
I will set no wicked thing before my eyes. (Psalm 101:3);
Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8);
But I say to you that for every idle word that men speak, they will give an account on the Day of Judgment. (Matthew 12:36);
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. (Philippians 4:8);
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5);
What? Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19);
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you are sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30);
Beware lest anyone captivate you through philosophy and vain deceit, in the tradition of men and the elementary principles of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8);
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15); and,
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. (Romans 6:12);
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 13:14).
Our goal for this area of our lives should be obedience, not compromise. We must not put a question mark where God puts a period! So, if you will, pray this prayer with me, and let’s mean it together: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my concerns, and see if there is any rebellious way in me, and lead me in the ancient way.” (Psalm 139:23-24). And if you need it, then use 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Remember, there is no sin too great or too longstanding for God to rid you of it. “For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37).
(To read more of my articles with biblical themes, click HERE)
Once again, thanks very much for your contemplative comment, Hugh. I certainly can relate to your desire to redeem the time while we still have some left! It sounds to me like you are doing a good job of just that; keep it up. I intend to do likewise.
Well said James! As I move forward in my 80s, I find all these entertainment things more repulsive. Is this due to my age? Iâve no interest in entertainment any more. Time is so scarce, so precious. Iâve invented an adage: âTime is going faster, and I am going slowerâ. So my desire is to âredeem the time because the days are evilâ. I am devoting my time to writing on a range of themes, hoping some of them will get published and become my legacy. So â¦â¦â¦. Well said, James! I concur.
Here are my writing goals, copied from the heading in my Prayer Journal, so as to keep them alive before the Lord:
I must prioritise those projects most likely to succeed (!)
My Memoirs, consolidating Lyrics to Lift your Life***, publishing Essence of Marriage.
My other books-in-the-making are also important:
âSecure in the Centre, Exploring the Edgesâ; âConquering Corruption, Inspiring Integrityâ;
âSinging the Songs that God Longs to Hearâ subtitled âA Comprehensive Guide/Manual for Congregational Singingâ (5 chapters a month)
âThe Wardrobe Door to the Will of Godâ subtitled âGodâs Directions for Your Decisionsâ (a chapter whenever I preach at GH)
Â· *** âLyrics to lift your lifeâ â my song-hymn-writing, already totalling above 475, of which CCLI reports that more than 33% are being sung in some 10 countries around the globe. For which I am most grateful.
1d HIGHER REALMS OF PRAISES Revelation 1:1-5
the bland and common phrases,
words that repeat
what we already know,
to higher realms of praises
so we the greater glory of God show.
Praise God eternal,
not confined to ages 1:4
He is, and was and evermore shall be.
Our future is, for Him,
as hisâtryâs pages,
Â· revealed to us in Bible prophecy. 1:1
Circling the throne
is God the Holy Spirit, 1:4b
Perfect in Seven, omnipresent too.
His seven eyes
have knowledge without limit, 5:6
He sees my secrets
like none else can do.
Jesus Messiah is a faithful witness, 1:5a
His resurrection pioneered the way, 1:5b
He rules the rulers
from the small to biggest, 1:5c
There are no higher words
that we can say!
We leave behind the bland
and common phrases,
we search for rich descriptions
of our Lord,
raising the bar
for all our songs of praises
so that with ALL our being Heâs adored.
Words: Hugh G Wetmore Â© 2014 Revelation 1:1-5
Metre: 22.214.171.124 Tune: O Perfect Love
Hugh & Thearl Wetmore
218 Glenhaven Retirement Village,
282 Annette van Zyl Street,
Garsfontein, Pretoria 0081
Tel & Fax 012 3482913
(International: +27 12 3482913)