A Life of Obedience, Not Compromise!

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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).

Challenges

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)

The Righteousness that God Requires

The Righteousness that God Requires

James R. Aist

“…not having my own righteousness which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ…” – Philippians 3:9

Atheists and other non-Christians often accuse Christians of being “self righteousness” hypocrites, meaning that they claim to be without sin, yet are not, or that God sees them as righteous because of their many “good works.” Unfortunately, there is often some truth to this accusation, as many Christians do not know and understand the true source of their righteousness, and do appear to be self-righteous hypocrites, guilty as charged. Let’s take a moment to see if we can sort this all out by consulting the Word of God on this matter.

In Romans 3:23, Paul writes that “…all have sinned and come short of the glory of God…” Another way of saying this is that we all lack the pure righteousness (glory) that God requires of us in order for us to quality for heaven, because we have all sinned. Isaiah put it this way, “But we all are as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), where “our righteousness” refers to our so-called “good” works. So, since we have all have sinned, and our good works aren’t really righteousness in God’s eyes, how in the world, then, can anyone meet God’s requirement for pure righteousness and, thus, qualify for heaven? Is it even possible?

The answer to these questions is both simple and profound. Jesus said, “I am the way…” (John 14:6). Paul, referring to Jesus, declared that “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). And, in Philippians 3:9, Paul summed it all up nicely for us, “…not having my own righteousness which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God on the basis of faith.” Now we can see clearly that, if we are a born-again believer, then God has imparted to us the pure righteousness that is Christ’s. That is where our righteousness comes from, not from our “good” works; it is a gift of God through faith in Jesus Christ. It’s that simple. And it is profound, because it is this (pure) righteousness that qualifies us to spend our eternity with God in heaven! This is the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How awesome is that?!

So, the next time someone accuses you of being “self righteous”, you can explain to them that your righteousness is not of yourself, but it is the righteousness of God imparted to you by God, because of your faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. And don’t forget to mention that they, too, can have this genuine, pure righteousness in the same way you received it. Jesus truly is “the Way!”

(To read more of my biblical teachings, click HERE)