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Monday, August 15, 2016

Compassion without Compromise

Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. Grace be with you all (1 Timothy 6:20‭-‬21, NIV).

Have you noticed the growing divide that has become more apparent between the culture and the Church? Like a tug of war to the death, the two pull and tug, fighting for dominance on the playing field of "truth." The trends of culture are changing at a rate of speed that is nearly impossible to keep up with. Truth is under the scrutiny of popular opinion and pop culture in a way that it never has been before. With the loud eruption of social media, unlimited access to news & "psuedo-news," the debate has been waged in ways that have never been seen since the days of Adam & Eve and the serpent in the garden of Eden. What is the answer? How does a Church that is to be the "Body of Christ" maintain relevance to a culture without become irreverant to the Truth of God? Where is the balance between compassion and compromise? Is it still possible to hold to the unchanging truth of God in regards to sin without compromising the truth of God in "loving our neighbor?"

In a world where scriptural truths were once held sacred, there has been a great sacrifice on the altar of cultural acceptance. We have been called to the following:

GUARD. "...guard what has been entrusted to your care." What God has started in you will inevitably come under attack. Satan has been attacking the truth of God since the days of the Garden of God. When truth becomes infected with even the smallest amount of compromise or contradiction, it ceases to be truth. Truth is ABSOLUTE. It has to be. God IS truth and God never changes, therefore truth can never change. Guard the truth of God. Continue to seek Him for clarity, for confidence, and for true understanding. Stick to what the Bible says is true. In everything you do, do it with love and honor unto God. Don't compromise the guarding of truth by turning to judgment and condemnation. Guard God's truth, and He will undoubtedly guard you.

GET AWAY. "Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge." When those who know or have known the truth of God begin to espouse that which opposes the unchanging and unfallable truth of God, it's time to go. In a world of exremes, there seems to be a struggle to find balance. Where the Church has been to legalistic, the pendulum has swung to the side of liberalism. Both extremes are wrong and compromise the truth of God. Neither one stick to the true spirit nor the letter of what has been divinely inspired. Don't engage in fruitless arguments. Stand up for truth, but know when to go. Do it in love. Never let arrogance, pride, or defensiveness be the guiding force for what you do, even in the "name of Jesus," for by that, Jesus is never honored. Love always, but in guarding truth, sometimes you just have to go. Going allows you to pray and God to work. Sometimes YOU have to get out of the way so that HOLY SPIRIT can really speak.

GRACE. "Grace be with you all." Christians have been notoriously labeled at those who have become experts in the art & skill of judgment and condemnation. Let that label be made FALSE in your life. Let everything you think, say, and do be seasoned with the Grace of God that was modeled in and through the life of Jesus. Jesus NEVER compromised the truth of God, NOR did He ever compromise the love of God. He lived to defend both. It was the GRACE of God that enabled Him to live in compassion without it turning to compromise. Grace is showing love to those with whom you disagree or who disagree with you. It's living out the love of Jesus without judgment or condemnation. It's standing up for the truth, but without allowing pride or arrogance to get top billing. It's accepting people for who they, yet never changing who God is, and allowing HIM to be the author & perfector of all transformation that comes through faith.

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