Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Another one bites the dust...compromise

Hebrews 12:1-4
 Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, 
and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the 
appointed course of the race that is set before us,
Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source 
of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, 
and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], 
so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, 
losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.
You have not yet struggled and fought agonizingly against sin, 
nor have you yet resisted and withstood to the point of pouring out your [own] blood.

As you read further in Hebrews 12 it goes on to talk about discipline a word we rarely like to talk about, especially discipline that comes from God.  Does it really happen?  Is our loving grace filled Papa one who disciplines?  If he is loving and kind, yes, He does.  

As a parent, if I let my child run rampant, loose, without teaching restraint and that there are consequences to actions that are disobedient, she will be a mess and I have not done a good job as a Father.  If I don't teach her that she is not always going to get her way or everything that she wants, she will grow up entitled and desperate for instant gratification.  People would look at me, talk about how bad a parent I am and hopefully someone would take me aside and show me my error.

I was reminded today that compromise is a dangerous game that we play.  I think compromise is that sin that clings to and entangles us...it's that hindrance or encumbrance that we haven't thrown off, which begins to make room for more weight and soon  disillusionment sets in and it confuses us to the truth.  

We are so lazy.  (I am preaching to the choir here...me!)  I have not yet struggled and fought agonizingly against sin, nor have I yet resisted and withstood to the point of pouring out my own blood.  Have you?  Would you?  Would you hate sin so much in your life that you would cry out in anguish?  Would you wrestle with it with great intensity?  Or would you compromise?  A little here, a little there?  Bend the rules here, bend them there?  This isn't an easy scripture to read without doing some self reflection and ask the Lord to examine our lives...I know that this is something that I do when I read this.  I realize that I am far from perfect, and that I'm a work in progress and it humbles me and keeps me desperately clinging to the cross...exclaiming to the Lord..."Lord Jesus, help me to not fall away from your precepts, your glorious ways...which are so much better than mine!"  

Further in Hebrews 12 Esau sells his birth right his inheritance for a meal.  A meal!  He compromises for something he desired.  He had a desire that birthed into something so great that he would sell his birth right for it.  What a devastating choice.

Where do we do that in our lives?   I sold my birth right!  Yep, I did!  When I was 30 years old, I decided to give birth to my own desires.  The compromises were little to begin with, but they began to grow bigger and bigger.  I began to believe the world's voice over God's, I began to believe God created me gay, I began to believe that grace was enough, and God loved me and accepted me as a gay man.  These compromises took root and I began to water them and it pulled me away from a loving community that I was in, and I began to believe that they were just backwards, homophobic, unloving and that they had failed me.  They didn't!  I failed.  I walked away, they didn't.  

I liken this to biting the dust of humanity.  I started eating the dust of the human narrative that I was listening to, rather than the spiritual narrative, the manna of His provision. 

*I want to make note here that even in my walking away from one loving community, God provided for me, friends that I still have today.  Ones who inspired me to walk with my eyes open, who encourage me to love, create and these friends I love with a tremendous love, and though distance separates us, they are in my heart.

I sold my birth right, my inheritance for a lavish meal of sexual expression and false identity. And I was extended grace, like the prodigal son, when I returned.  God threw a party for me by surrounding me with an amazing community of believers...a crowd of witnesses, the glorious ones to whom is all my delight! (Psalm 16)  These men and women, young and old, are here to encourage and keep me on the path of life.  I need them and they need me.  We aren't called to put our trust in them or our faith...that belongs to God, but they know their place in spurring me on, and I know my place.

So today, as I read yet another one, who has bitten the apple of compromise, my heart breaks with sorrow and grief and I won't callus my heart to not feel the disappointment and the hurt that this causes and I cry out for my brothers and sisters to stand firm in the faith, the race set before them.  


Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source 
of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, 
and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], 
so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, 
losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.

6 comments:

David Ash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Valerie Steele said...

Thank you for your inspiring message Kenny. I so appreciate your willingness to share your authentic testimony of God's loving Truth as well as His Grace. I look forward to hearing more from you, keep writing...you inspire me.

John Howard said...

Amen, Kenny. It's so good to have brothers who have shared the journey and who keep encourging each other to set aside the sin, run the race set before us and keep our eyes focussed on Jesus! I love and appreciate you, brother!

Cathy Coulson said...

Yeah, I heard the news today. So very sad. Thank you for your transparency and the way you balance love and truth. Always love reading your writings. Perhaps a book one day??

kenny said...

I think its time Cathy.

Cathy Coulson said...

Ha! Music to my ears..this is the scripture:
Jeremiah's Complaint Jeremiah 20
…8For each time I speak, I cry aloud; I proclaim violence and destruction, Because for me the word of the LORD has resulted In reproach and derision all day long. 9But if I say, "I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name," Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it. 10For I have heard the whispering of many, "Terror on every side! Denounce him; yes, let us denounce him!" All my trusted friends, Watching for my fall, say: "Perhaps he will be deceived, so that we may prevail against him And take our revenge on him."…