Sunday, December 17, 2017

One Or The Other

I have been a part of Youth Ministry on one level or another for going on ten years. In that time, I have seen the struggle that takes place in the lives of our teenagers as the church pulls them one way and the world pulls them the opposite direction. This struggle is not unique only to teens. We all face this battle each and every day; it’s called spiritual warfare. As we look back on the earthly battles of History, we see countries who have won and countries who have lost but that is not the only battle outcome. In order to win or lose, there has to be an unconditional surrender by one party. The other battle outcome that I mentioned is a stale mate, a peace treaty full of compromises for both parties involved. This is even true in our spiritual warfare. Christians and churches around the world have chosen to compromise or blur the lines, if you will. The sin that lures us in is so powerful that we often begin to make compromises. Just like in the earthly battles, no one really wins in this situation. Our passage in Psalms today tells us that a peace treaty with Satan is not acceptable. As The Church, The Body Of Christ, and as individual Christians, we CANNOT give into sin. The great thing is that God informs us that if we do stand as a faithful warrior, there will be a victory party when the battle is won.

You who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, And gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
Psalm 97:10-12 (NKJV)

There are things that we can blur the lines on. There are things in life that may indeed fall into the “gray” area. However, when I read this passage in Psalms I see a black and white situation. “Love the Lord, hate evil”. God is calling us to choose one or the other. We try to make excuses or compromises, and all the while, God is saying “NO!” As I read this, God brought to mind John 14:15. “If you love me, keep my commands.” I see weakness in our faith, dear friends. I see us doing the opposite, loving evil and hating the Lord. You may think that I am being harsh, but it is the truth. Every time we give in to sin, we are telling God we like the feeling or reaction to that sin more than we love Him. I was at a training conference where the speaker said, “It’s not that our flesh is too strong, but rather our faith is too weak.” If we loved God more, it would be harder for us to stray. It has to be one or the other, love God or love Evil. Our passage today not only tells us that we should love God and hate evil, it also gives us insight into the promises or blessings that those who do love the Lord will receive: our preservation, our deliverance, a light that may show us the way, or an enlightenment and gladness. Why should we expect God to keep us safe or deliver us from our enemies while we are living in disobedience? We make faith compromises, and then expect God to bless us. It doesn’t work that way. We must choose one or the other. This is not prosperity gospel, it is the truth. God promises good for those that love Him, and Jesus defined love by those who would keep His commands. Now, I am not saying we earn or can be good enough to receive these promises. I admit I fall into that group where my faith is weak at times, but with Christ in me I can overcome this thing called flesh. God said, be holy for I am holy. I seem to be in a place in my life right now where God is really showing me this concept. I recently shared another Mid-Day Motivator, called Walking Worthy, on this same subject. God wants us to stop making peace treaties with Satan and to start winning the battle for Him. Let’s stand together, encourage one another, and stop blurring the lines by walking in the gray area. We need to choose one or the other. In closing, I’m reminded of Revelation 3:16 “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” God is calling us to choose one or the other.

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that through your guidance and strength, that we can be a generation that chooses to love you and hate evil. Show us in your word and through your spirit the difference between right and wrong, and help us choose right. God, we want to love you, so help increase our faith where we can walk in obedience. Help us choose you. We pray this in the name of our Deliverer, Jesus Christ. Amen

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