***This is not a fluffy, feel good post. It's what God spoke to me, which felt like being backhanded across the face, but it needs to be said. If you get easily offended I encourage you to stop reading now***
As I read the scripture below, God began to speak to me about the condition of many Christians hearts. This verse isn't for those who are non believers, this verse is for the "professed believers".
Matthew 26:14-16 "Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over."
In a world, especially a country, where fame and public recognition is much of our driving force the church has slipped into this same dysfunctional mind set. (Let me clarify, not ALL churches, not ALL Christians leaders, not ALL Christians...but many). Many begin with good intentions, even when we personally surrender our lives to Christ we do so with the best intentions to live a life surrendered and sold out to be His hands and feet here on earth. Then something interesting happens, we can slowly drift from our first love and we leave ourselves exposed and vulnerable to the manipulation of the enemy.
Judas probably began following Jesus was good intentions, then as he became too familiar with Jesus, he became greedy. Greed was probably a stronghold Judas dealt with before Jesus called him. The expectations and the requirements became too difficult for his flesh to handle so his heart turned from his first love, back to his old strongholds and to loving himself and he compromised everything he was set free from by Jesus, for an insulting 30 pieces of silver. His question was, "What are you willing to GIVE ME if I deliver him over to you?"
How many of us are guilty of saying the same thing, maybe in a different form? "How many people will be there? I don't want to speak to an audience of less than 100." "I'm not going to love them or have anything to do with them because they are GAY!" "No one will even know if I spin the truth on these documents, I deserve the promotion so I'll do what I have to, to get it." "Yeah I sleep around, all of that is covered by the grace of God." "I got MYSELF here! I worked hard for this so I'll do what I have to, to keep it." What are we secretly willing to compromise on, in essence handing what Jesus did for us on the cross, over to the enemy? And the enemy pays bottom dollar for it too. It may look like a lot to us, but in the perspective of eternity, it's worth nothing. You are selling out for the sake of fame, promotion, greed, fleshly desires, the APPEARANCE of being holy.
We can easily slip into being TAKERS instead of servants of Christ. ”What are you willing to give me" can be the first step. It all starts with a thought, then it turns into and action. We can forget that we have been saved and set free, and next thing we know we are back in bondage because we compromised. And like Judas in verse 16, "from then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over." we compromise once, and believe the lie that what we did "wasn't so bad" we will slowly begin to watch for OPPORTUNITIES to lay down what we stand for, for (fill in the blank).
Can I get real? This isn't a game! Being a Christian isn't a title to wear or carry lightly. People are being murdered in other countries for simply owning a Bible and we, in a free country, wear Christianity as a title that we quickly take off when an opportunity to exalt ourselves, our own agenda, our own plan above Jesus' plan, presents itself. Before people raise their hands to become a Christian they need to know, persecution comes with it. Hardship comes with it. Trials and attacks come with it. Christianity isn't EASY! That is why Galatians 5:24 says, "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Guess what's not fun? BEING CRUCIFIED DAILY! But it's a choice we have to be willing to make every single day as soon as we wake up, because as soon as you step foot out your door the world is WAITING to provide you with opportunities to compromise. We are walking temples of the spirit of God, and we look at that as something that is cheap and easily cast off when our flesh feels uncomfortable with Jesus' standards. Kingdom standards look NOTHING like this worlds standards. We are called to forgive, even the unforgiveable. We are told to love, even those who are unloveable. We are told to give to the widow and orphan. We are told to love our neighbors as ourselves (and let's face it, some of us loves ourselves a little too much and love others way too little). We don't need to agree with them or their lifestyle but we are told to love them. We are told to fight for the weak and be a voice to the voiceless, but taking a stand for ANYTHING means we have to stand right in front of persecution, something many of us are passionate about avoiding. Hey, I'm not going to lie, confrontation makes me uncomfortable but I recognize that discomfort has rendered me silent when I SHOULD have used my voice to take a stand for what was right, not what was comfortable.
There is a generation rising up that is looking for something with a backbone and unfortunately, they have come across far too many "Christians" who stand for nothing and are looking for opportunities to compromise when the opportunity arises. The enemy is defeated when we become nothing more surrendered vessels for Christ. I want to leave you with an example. This example is not to exalt a person, because we are all flawed and in need of a Savior. Jordan can come across as a little cold to women that he doesn't know well. It has been said to me a couple of times. This is because he is intentional to protect our relationship, doing away with any appearances of evil or ill intent because of our history of adultery. For work events, many times the group want to go to Hooters or Twin Peaks for lunch, but Jordan declines and is honest with these guys and says, "I don't go to those places because that would disrespect my wife." They laugh and make fun of him because he's living by KINGDOM standards, not the worlds standards. I never told him to decline these lunch locations but this is a choice he intentionally makes because if he compromises ONCE it becomes easy to compromise again and again. Because of his stand for holiness, these men have taken notice and when he was being introduced to come and speak at an even the man who was introducing him said something along the lines of, "This man has more integrity then anyone I have ever met. He won't even go to Hooters because he says it will disrespect his wife."
Because He didn't compromise, because he crucified his flesh, he now holds a place in these guys lives of respect and honor. A place GOD exalted him to. And he didn't have to fight and claw anyone else to get there. Listen, when you compromise to get a position you will have to always fight to keep it. When GOD elevates you or promotes you NO ONE can take it from you because they will have to fight the One who put you there in the first place. What the world has to offer you is a cheap knock off of what GOD will give you. There is so much God can do in and through a surrendered life but it's a CHOICE that has to be made daily. It's not too late. Even if you have compromised in the past, it's not too late to repent and get back on track. Our world is dying all around us, they NEED us to be what Christ died for.