“If you’re not going to preach the gospel, you don’t have anything to worry about. If you’re not going to talk about sin, you’re not going to have anything to worry about; but if you’re going to proclaim the gospel, they’re going to try to shut you up.” – Evangelist Franklin Graham
I’m tired of being a compromised Christian.
The world of politics believes compromise is good: all parties make concessions so that (reasonable, acceptable, tolerable) agreement can be reached. This works in its imperfect way in our imperfect world.
However, in God’s kingdom there can be no compromise. When I make a concession to the world, to my desires or to the lying suggestions of the devil, I sin. This is compromise.
God is not a compromiser. He is a promiser. He gives grace and mercy, yes – but only on his own terms.
People who want me to shut up, as Franklin Graham suggests, are asking me to compromise. I’m tired of it.
My largest area of compromise is my focus on the events of the day. There truly is nothing new under the sun.1 Much (likely most) of what I read outside the Bible doesn’t inform my Christian walk. I’m deceived if I think there actually is something new out there. And yet I find myself returning to this secular arena again and again. Too many days I check the news before I check in with my Lord and Saviour.
This futile search for ‘something new’ compromises my walk with Jesus. I think it’s sinful for me, and so I repent.
As part of this, I spent several hours this week going through my various inboxes, unsubscribing from junk.
Yes, the seemingly endless flow from the cloaca of culture: attack, criticism, counter-criticism, culture war volleys and parries, cancellation, disparagement, rumor, conspiracy theory, speculation, condemnation, self-righteous proclamation; all of this fills the news today, from the Times to Tumblr to TikTok.
Do I really need to know any of this to be relevant? The great weight in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians has landed upon my shoulders and can no longer be shrugged off: “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” 2
If I believe what God says in the Bible, I should need nothing else for wisdom and demonstration. Who could say something as well as scripture, unless it too is inspired by the Holy Spirit?
It’s wise to know what’s happening in the world. But I’m becoming convinced the endless drip–drip–drip of cases only puts my eyes where they don’t really belong.
Times are dark. But then, times have always been dark. The Apostle Paul died in prison. Ten of the original 12 disciples were martyred for their faith in Christ, many of them horribly. There was persecution everywhere for the early church, as there has been for outspoken believers throughout the Christian Age.
The only relief from persecution has been in times and places where church leaders and believers compromised themselves: becoming worldly, political or, as we might say today, ‘relevant’.
Worldly relevance is irrelevant to God’s kingdom. Compromise has no value there.
When Peter unleashed his fusillade of a sermon on the day of Pentecost,3 he was not interested in relevance, but repentance.
He preached Christ’s basic gospel: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.4 ‘Repent and be saved’ was Jesus’ version of the prophet Zechariah’s warning: “Thus says the Lord of Hosts: Return to Me, and I will return to you”. 5
Are you afraid of proclaiming the gospel? It reveals truth and brings life. Relevant messages bring confusion and death. Are you bold like Peter? Or are you compromised?
I’ve been told: ‘keep your faith to yourself’ and ‘shut up with that *** and stop judging me’. I’ve been called names. I’ve been told I have no right to speak in the name of Jesus.
The world is compromised. Are you?
Christian organizations are being de-platformed. Why? Because they refused to compromise like the app stores do.
Christian organizations are being kicked out of financial institutions. Why? Because they refused to compromise like the banks do.
Christians are being arrested in Western nations for preaching the gospel. Why? Because they refused to compromise like local governments do.
Christians are being fired for sticking to their faith in the face of uncompromising work rules. Why? Because they refused to compromise.
There is nothing new under the sun. And yet, too often Christians foster outrage instead of resting in the grace and peace Christ gives us to meet them.
Focusing on outrage brings us into the same compromise we complain about. It tricks us into glorifying what the devil is doing instead of searching out what Christ is doing. Remember, where sin abounds (read the news), grace abounds more (read the Bible). 6
Here’s the bottom line for me today, as it has been for the church for two millennia: “Now Lord, look on their threats and grant that Your servants may speak Your word with great boldness, by stretching out Your hand to heal and that signs and wonders may be performed in the name of Your holy Son Jesus.” When they had prayed the place where they were assembled together was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.7
Are you speaking the word of God with boldness? Are you fully living the life Jesus called you to live? Or are you a compromised Christian?
By virtue of cleaning out my spiritual rucksack this week, my burden just got a bit lighter, and my path a bit straighter. Praise God.
1. Ecclesiastes 3:8-9 – ‘All matters are wearisome; a man is not able to speak to them. The eye is not satisfied with what it sees, and the ear is not content with what it hears. What has been is the same as what will be, and what has been done is the same as what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.’
2. 1 Corinthians 2:4
3. Acts 2:38-41 – ‘Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized, and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.’
4. Mark 1:15
5. Zechariah 1:3
6. Romans 5:20
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