09 December 2006


Read SECOND PETER 1:12-13-3:1 ...

God’s WORD is full of reminders. Through it, God wants to “refresh our memories” and “stimulate us to wholesome thinking”. And if there was ever anyone who knew the importance of being reminded of the simple truths over again, it was Peter.

HEBREWS 4:12 says, “The WORD of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Through His WORD, God wants to prune us (see JOHN 15) and refine us and “conform us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.”
You know what? The world needs to see Christians who are willing to live out their faith and their beliefs in ways that are uncompromising, consistent and rooted in faithfulness.

The world wants to see, no, needs to see followers of Jesus Christ who are equipped to show what it means to “take up their cross and follow Jesus”.

The world wants to see, no, needs to see who are equipped to show the world what it means to “die to self and be alive in Christ”.

The world wants to see, no, needs to see who are equipped to show the world what it means to “not be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” because they believe with everything they’ve got that “it is the power of God unto salvation."

The world wants to see, no, needs to see the world is dying to see men and women and young people who are ready, willing and able to show the world what it means to “stand for Truth — and for the One who is Truth — in an age of compromise.

The world needs to see, no, needs to see the witness of people who understand and make it their goal to follow Paul’s admonition to Timothy when he wrote:

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (SECOND TIMOTHY 2:15 | NIV) “Work hard so God can say to you, ‘Well done.’ Be a good workman, one who does not need to be ashamed when God examines your work. Know what his Word says and means ... and do it.” (SECOND TIMOTHY 2:15 | THE LIVING BIBLE)

The world needs to see folks who know God and the power of His WORD. People who are letting the WORD wash them (EPHESIANS 5:25-26) and people who are letting the WORD of God sanctify them ... who are letting the WORD of God mature them and bring them into a place of holiness ... people who are willing, above all other choices available to them, to set themselves apart for God’s exclusive use (JOHN 17:17).


Which brings me to what I'm wanting to focus on in my next few blog postings ... from PSALM 1 ...

The book of PSALMS is an ancient Hebrew hymn-book. A nd it’s filled with all kinds of music. Duets, choir anthems and solos ... and it’s music that’s written for all kinds of occasions — in thanksgiving, in confession, in depression, in joy, in pain.

116 out of the 150 of the Psalms have superscriptions. These are little sub-titles that tell us something about the occasion of their writing ... or about who wrote them, or who they were written for, or other interesting facts. PSALM 1 doesn’t have one a superscription, but that’s okay, because it’s kind of like the front door or the main entrance to the entire book of PSALMS.

PSALM 1 is a message about the results to two choices: choosing righteousness and faithfulness OR choosing unrighteousness and compromise. In this world, for every action, there’s an equal and positive reaction — I won’t take credit for that deep, profound, statement ... because actually a fuzzy haired mathematician from the Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies, named Albert Einstein said it a long time ago — but what’s true in the natural is also true in the spiritual — and as GALATIANS 6:7-8 puts it this way ...

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." (see also PROVERBS 11:18; 22:8).

So on the one hand we have righteousness and faithfulness and on the other hand we have unrighteousness and compromise. The choice is up to us. As we get into this study we’ll see about what it means to be righteous ... about how to make that your goal and then what the results of that choice will be.

But what about compromise? Since this PSALM is warning us to stay away from it, what does compromise mean?

Compromise here doesn’t mean the kind of “give and take” needed for negotiation to take place. Rather, it’s “actively choosing unrighteousness.” It’s allowing ourselves, in small ways, to lose ground with God and gain ground with the world. It’s like decay. And especially, for Christ-followers, it’s putting on an outward air of spirituality when inwardly we’re dying and eroding because of sin we’re allowing to have a foothold in our lives.

Compromise is a form of blasphemy — because usually when people are doing it, they’re in denial that they’re doing it ... they’re just going along like everything’s great between them and God ... but it isn’t. Scott Peck has this definition for blasphemy ... “Blasphemy is using the name of God, when you aren’t in relationship with God, for the purpose of pretending you are.”

When I was a kid my family rented a very old house in SE Portland ... in 1962 it was 107 years old ... it a couple blocks north of 34th and Hawthorne. When we moved in my mom and dad loved the house because of the way it looked — three stories, Victorian trimmings, tall ceilings, ornate lighting fixtures, etc ... But it didn’t take long before we noticed that everything wasn’t what it seemed to be.

When we’d spill milk in the kitchen it would all run into one corner ... a tilting floor. When we tried to open the windows in the Spring, they’d stick half-way up ... uneven walls. One day when my mom was out on the front porch ... she went through the front porch ... dry rot.

I’m here to tell you ... this house wasn’t even in the category of “fixer-upper” ... it was more like a “tearer-downer”. If Bob Villas saw this house he’d say “This old house gotta go.”

And the reason was that the foundation was made of wood and for years it had been eaten away by termites to the point that the whole house was shifting and sagging. Basically the foundation was gone — and the termites were now in the walls, clear up to the second story.

And you know what? That’s the way it is with compromise. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, one rationalization leads to another, which triggers a series of equally damaging alterations in a life that was once stable, strong and reliable. And that’s what David is writing to here in PSALM 1 ... as he’s urging you and me to resist even the slightest temptation to compromise our convictions.

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