Thursday, August 09, 2007

Persecution or Compromise

One thing plays repeatedly through my mind as I've read the New Testament passages on persecution in preparation for my term paper. It's a painful and profound thought: Persecution is avoidable for those willing to compromise.

From Paul's admonition that it is those "who desire to live Godly lives in Christ Jesus" that are persecuted, to Peter and John's option of going free but just not speaking about Jesus, to the Galatians who were tempted to doctrinal compromise to avoid persecution, to the martyrs in Revelation who are paralled in the text both as those who are martyred and as those who "obey the gospel" ... we see the two paths laid out for us: Persecution or Compromise.

The compromise may be doctrinal ("Let's just throw in a little legalism here and there"), it may be lifestyle-oriented ("I have to joke like this to fit in and have a platform to share the gospel"), it may be intellectual ("Maybe Scripture against that sin doesn't apply today"). It may be more blatant ("Let's not evangelize"). But whatever the form it takes, compromise is the devil's way of tempting us to avoid persecution. And when we compromise, we don't advance the kingdom of God.

How grateful I am that His kingdom is bigger than my weaknesses! I know I've compromised, and God is teaching me through this study on persecution just how bad that is. Like it or not, His narrow path is the path of difficulty, of being misunderstood, and sometimes outright persecuted. Sometimes from other "religious" people, sometimes from the very people I try to reach. Even if I'm not "beating people over the head" with Scripture - something I definitely don't do -- I can still be a faithful, godly witness and find myself tempted to compromise to avoid persecution, to stay "popular".

Today, seek the Lord for the ways that He wants you to recognize your compromise, and recommit to the narrow way ... even if it leads to persecution.

Blessings to you!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good to hear that even the likes of
you struggle at times. The pull of
being liked, fitting in, etc. is so
strong at times. Pray that I'll try to please Him and let the 'chips' fall where they may.
Thanks for the encouragement!