In I. John 2:15-17 we find these words, 15) “Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16) For everything that belongs to the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle — is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17) And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.”
I wish I had a nickel for every time I saw a Christian “sitting on the fence” when it comes to what they believe or when it comes to putting God first in their lives. I’d be rich. I can’t say that boastfully, because it’s a shame when people who confess to be followers of Christ make decisions that favor the world more than they favor the Lord.
I know it’s so easy to be a “fence sitter” but as Christians, we must take a stand and let those around us know what we believe. Why? Well, first, the Lord told us to do it and secondly if we don’t the world is going to continue to take away our religious freedoms. We have a testimony if we are Christ followers and we are supposed to live our lives to bring honor and glory to the Lord. That cannot be done when we are sitting on the fence or when we choose to do the things of the world.
The word that we use to describe someone who sits on the fence is “compromise.” Compromise takes place when we know what we are supposed to do as a Christian and we know how we are to act and how we are supposed to live and then we choose not to do so. Sometimes, compromise is good, such as giving up the TV or the Internet when our children ask us to go outside and play with them. Or when you want to go to the football game and your wife wants to go to the quilt show and you take her to the quilt show. (Believe me, it will also save your marriage.)
But when it comes to spiritual things, when we compromise issues of morality, integrity or obedience to God, the Scriptures warn us that we will pay a high price.
You see, there is a battle that takes place inside each person who is born again. The Holy Spirit of God lives within us and so does the old, carnal man. The battle is between the new man and the old man and we must choose who we are going to give our attention to. As believers, we cannot straddle the fence between the flesh and the Spirit. We must make a choice and that choice may need to be made daily, or hourly or maybe each minute of the day, we need to choose the things of God. Here’s an example out of my life: I used to smoke. I would smoke three packs of cigarettes a day and did so for about six years. When I got saved in 1975, I was eventually able to give them up and now I haven’t smoked for over 35 years. But it was a choice for me and even today, when I smell someone light up, that strong desire to smoke comes over me and I must make a conscious decision to not do so. Even after 35 years. And I am sure that you must battle some things in your past too, maybe on a daily basis.
But when we compromise our beliefs by giving in to our fleshly desires it leads to internal corruption and it will eventually affect our future decisions. Then, every concession after that makes the next one easier. Satan first gains a toehold, which eventually becomes a foothold and then leads to a stronghold. (Compromise equals Satan’s toehold equals Satan’s foothold equals Satan’s stronghold. Remember that.) The final result then is that we will reap what we sow. And when we sow to the flesh, the harvest will be ruin. So instead of being a “fence sitter” let’s decide to follow the Lord with everything we have, our entire mind, our entire heart and our entire soul. We need to sell out to the Lord and not allow anything to get a stronghold in our lives. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, “When something or someone comes between you and the Lord, it is closer to the Lord than you are.”
And that is Something to Think About for this week.
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Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 2343 U.S. Route 42, London, one mile west of Kirkwood Cemetery. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.