One side or the other

I hate conflict.  Ask anyone that knows me.  I don’t like to argue to the point that I offend.  I often spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to make everyone happy.  I would have been a good mediator – trying to find the best solution for both sides (so long as no one was mad at me at the end of the day).

From a personal perspective, it’s a dangerous line to walk.  Continuing on this idea of profiling a lukewarm lifestyle, trying to balance the line between Christ and the world is a dangerous game to play.  Someone with my personality tends to want to be accepted – no matter the cost.  That plays right into the next statement about the lukewarm

Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict.  They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they are care more about what people think of their actions then what God thinks of their hearts and lives.

Confession time.  I love my church.  I love the opportunity to serve God.  I feel alive when I am with other believers.  I feel like I can praise God without fear of having to defend it.  I can truly open up during worship and feel the love of my Savior.  Church is my “safe” place.  When I leave through the doors, something happens.  I tend to laugh at the wrong things.  I find myself agreeing with others when they make fun of something or someone.  I hear words come out of my mouth that are shameful.  I don’t say a word when someone takes the Lord’s name in vain, or even goes as far as to mock the Christian faith.  I fail to live for God when I am in the world.  That statement describes me in so many ways.

So what is the answer?  Do we just surround ourselves with like-minded believers and avoid those that may cause conflict within our heart?  I don’t think that’s the answer.  Jesus gave us all a great mission – tell everyone about me.  We are called to go out into the world and spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.  I think the answer is to simply live my life in a way that leaves no doubt about which side of the road I stand on.  I can be in this world, but not conformed to it.  In fact I am to be a shining light so that others may find Jesus through the life I live.  Does that mean I am the perfect example for others to follow?  Absolutely not, I am a sinner like every other person.  But I am called to live a life that reflects what Christ has done inside of me to overcome my sin problem.

Living for Christ means I am going to have to make tough choices, sometimes in the face of conflict.  It may cost me a friend, it may cost me a way of life.  I can be in this world, but I can’t conform to what this world says is right and acceptable.  Jesus stood in the midst of sinners, but He was never like them.  In the end, all that matters is what I did for Jesus.  He sees my inner most secrets, motives and desires.  It’s easy to put on the false face and “fit in” but I’m only fooling myself.  Christ knows my heart and what He thinks is eternally important.

Jesus was clear on what he thought about hypocrisy.  “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.” (Matthew 23:5-7 NIV).

Jesus was describing an attitude of worrying more about what people in this world think of me, rather than having a heart that longs for Christ and letting that be what defines me. In the end, all that matters is what we did with Christ and for Christ.  I have given my life to Christ.  I am saved.  When I stand before Him, all my works will be judged by fire.  Only those things done for Christ will withstand, all else will be consumed and gone.  I don’t want to spend my whole life trying to gain the acceptance and approval of men, only to stand empty-handed before the Lord.

Lord, today I pray that you will change my perspective from worldly acceptance to eternal holiness.  I pray that your strength and courage will fill me when the choice seems difficult and that I’ll live a life that is focused on what you think.  In your name I pray – Amen.

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