Saturday, March 22, 2014

Contending or Compromising?

                This morning I woke to the words, “earnestly contend for the faith”. Last night I went to see the movie, “God’s Not Dead”, which is now out in select theaters around our nation. In this movie, a freshman college student is given a piece of paper by his philosophy professor and asked to write the words, “God is Dead” on the top, then sign his name to it. But, this student can’t do it. The movie then goes on to tell you the story of how one Christian’s stand for God changed the lives of many, and the struggles that this man goes
through to contend for the faith. If you have not seen this movie yet, I cannot recommend it enough. Not only did it speak to me about sharing my faith, but it also ignited a fire in me to “earnestly contend for the faith”.
                “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Jude 1:3
                Jude sits down to write a letter to his fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord about salvation, some commentators believe he was going to write a memoir of sorts, but the Holy Spirit took him in another direction. Jude says in his epistle that he found it “necessary to write”, meaning that it was urgent, it was like a burden upon him to write to them and exhort them to contend for the faith. At this time in church history, false prophets, false doctrines and false teachers had crept into the church. And as a result, many Christians were compromising their faith. They were compromising what they believed to escape persecution, and many were being led astray as a result.
                Much like the character in the movie, these Christians were faced with a choice. They could either go with the flow to keep the peace, or they could stand up and fight against those who were trying to tear them down and trying to rip apart the truth of God in Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, many of them chose to compromise instead of contend.
              To earnestly contend means to strive diligently for something. It is a Greek word used to describe a wrestling mat. The context that Jude uses is in a strengthened form that means to agonize over something, and refers to hard and diligent work. How many of us would be willing to stand up and go against the flow? How many of us would compromise our faith and write “God is Dead”, instead of standing up and saying, “No, my God is God and I will not deny Him.” Most of us are thinking that we would stand up, but let’s take a step back for a minute. Let’s take a deep look into our hearts and take a look into our daily lives. Do we compromise? Do we stand or do we go with the flow?
                To compromise means that you settle a difference by making concessions for the other person. You reach an agreement that requires you to lay down your principles for the sake of creating peace. Instead of fighting, you step back and let the argument go away. It is easier to live in peace than in contention. Now, I am not saying that we should be taking our bibles and beating people over the head with them. But, I think that we, as Christians, have allowed compromise to seep into our churches, into our homes and into our daily lives. I think we as Christians have decided that it is easier to say nothing than to stand and fight for the faith that we have been given. It is easier to not offend than to stand for what is godly.
                Jude says to us that we are to earnestly contend for the faith. We are to be fighting for the truth, we are to be standing up and saying “No” when the world is saying “Yes”. We are to be living uncompromising lives in the face of Jesus Christ. We are to be proclaiming the truth of God, whether it is received or opposed. Politically correct has no place in the Christian life. We are either for God or we are against Him. We cannot sit on the fence any longer, concerned and afraid we might offend someone. The cross of Jesus Christ has been offending people for centuries, and will continue to offend people till the day He returns in all His glory. But we, as Christians, we must be earnestly contending for the faith. But instead, we are compromising, allowing false teachers, false prophets and false doctrines to separate us, and tear apart the unity of the faith our Lord and Savior suffered so greatly for. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8, our common faith)
                Jesus tells us that narrow is the way and few will find it. (Matthew 7:13-14) Those who find that
narrow way are the ones who earnestly contend for the faith. Those who choose to not offend are the ones who are going through the broad gate, and that gate leads to destruction. Whether we want to see it or not, our Christian faith and our Christian beliefs are being attacked in this nation. But instead of us contending for it, instead of us standing against it, we are compromising and giving in. We would rather keep the peace then stand up and say, “No, God is Not Dead”. We would rather go with the flow at work and laugh at the crude jokes, than to stand earnestly for the faith. We have compromised on so many things in our daily lives that we have become used to it and don’t even realize it as compromise anymore.

                We have compromised on who leads our churches, and who teaches us the Word of God. We have allowed false doctrines to creep in, false prophets to lead us astray and false teachers to tell us that God is all rainbows and unicorns, and that compromise is okay, as long as you are happy. We would rather be comfortable as a Christian than stand up and contend for what we know to be truth. We have to start living uncompromising lives, my brothers and sisters. The gospel of Jesus Christ has become watered down because we, as Christians, have compromised our beliefs so that we don’t offend anyone.

Oh, I pray today that we would see our compromising ways and turn back to the Lord. I pray today that we would become true saints of Jesus Christ, earnestly contending for our faith. Standing up when the world is telling us to sit down, turning it off when the lewdness and the crudeness gets too loud. I pray today that we would take a good look into our hearts and pray for forgiveness. I pray that we would get on our knees and ask the Lord to strengthen us, so that we might become His saints, who earnestly contend for the faith which He suffered so greatly for. In Jesus Name, amen and amen.