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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Going Along to Get Along until You Fall Headlong

Judges 3:1-6 (ESV)
1  Now these are the nations that the LORD left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. 2  It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before. 3  These are the nations: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived on Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. 4  They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses. 5  So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 6  And their daughters they took to themselves for wives, and their own daughters they gave to their sons, and they served their gods.  

Have you ever thought that we should fear complacency more than we fear adversity?

God allowed pagan tribes to exist in Israel so that the Israelites would know war. He also allowed them to exist to test whether  Israel would truly follow Him. They forgot about war and got in bed with the pagans. They failed on both accounts.

People have a pattern of doing just that. Instead of confronting sin they acquiesce to sinners and adopt their practices. They go along to get along without realizing that it won't be long before they are falling headlong.

I have seen so many people who worshipped God fervently at one time in their lives adopt a pattern of casual faith. They fail to realize the damage they are doing when they go to certain movies, participate in certain activities and fill their social time with non-Christian friends. They do not realize that that which they abhorred when walking close to the Lord will soon be adopted when they are no longer opposed. They stop having a daily time with God, serving the Lord and being around spiritual people. They begin to criticize those who are walking with the Lord. They claim a superiority to their former Christian lives. Truly, they have evolved but not into something better.

Then, God, as He has always done, lets them go their own way. He lets them go as tar as they want to from Him. They forget Him and the joy they once had. They trade in the abundant life for one that gets along with the people they surround around themselves. Their lights are still burning but they burn ever so dimly.

God allows a crisis in their lives. At first, they fail to see any connection. It is just something that happens to people. The crisis persists until they look for a solution. They may ask themselves, "Do I return to church for an answer?" Truthfully, the answer is not in attending church. That's like thinking you will get well simply by being in a hospital. No, the answer is found in coming home to God. It is found in a new commitment. That commitment will mean that you will go to war against those things which have brought you down. It will mean that you can still be cordial to those people who have led you into an ungodly lifestyle, you can still love them with the love of Jesus, but you can no longer make them the people that you spend the most time around. Many people are afraid to make that break.

What about the man or woman who has married a non-believer? How do they do this? It is the most difficult life that anyone can imagine. They must fully serve the persons to whom they are married. They must be the Christian example of love. They must never miss even one day of having a daily time with God. They must plunge themselves into a local church as much as possible. They must pray for their spouses to come to know the Lord they know.

Yes, it is war to live the Christian life in a pagan society but the alternative to this war is becoming like that society. You go along to get along and fall headlong. It never fails.

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