Category Archives: No More Compromise

Sin’s Scars

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“But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.” (Judges 16:21)

The sad end of mighty Samson, who once had been so greatly energized and utilized by the Lord, is also an allegory and a grave warning to every Christian. “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14-15).

Satan knows our individual weaknesses and tempts us accordingly. Many Christians have fallen into sin through some Delilah, but probably many more have fallen into sin through pride, or covetousness, or compromise, or apathy.

First, sin blinds. We are commanded to grow in Christ, adding to our initial faith the attributes of virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, kindness, and love (2 Peter 1:5-7). Otherwise, “he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (2 Peter 1:9).

Then, sin binds. It may not be with chains, as with Samson, but unconfessed sin quickly enslaves its practitioners. “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” (2 Peter 2:19).

Finally, sin grinds. Instead of the promised freedom from restraint, a sinful life soon becomes a “grind,” tedious and tasteless, like “the dog turned to his own vomit again” (2 Peter 2:22).

Samson did return to God again before his death, but he was still blind, and bound, and grinding. God forgives, but the effects of sin are not easily removed.

How much better it would be never to yield to the temptation at all. HMM

Practicing Righteousness

“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” (1 John 3:7)

Every genuine Christian knows that part of the salvation gift is the promise of being made “unblameable in holiness” (1 Thessalonians 3:13). We sometimes have trouble, however, with the concept of present-tense holiness in our everyday lifestyles.

John speaks of the abiding Christian who “sinneth not” (1 John 3:6). Indeed, such a Christian “doth not commit sin” (1 John 3:9) because, John notes, the “seed” of God “remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” Furthermore, “whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not” (1 John 5:18).

It’s accurate to translate those passages with the “continuing” implication of the Greek structure (i.e. “does not continue in [the practice of] sin,” etc.). However, the emphasis is on an obvious, continuous, clearly embraced lifestyle of righteous living!

The visible transformation from a worldly conformity (Romans 12:2) begins with a desire for “the sincere milk of [God’s] word” (1 Peter 2:2), fashioning ourselves after God’s holiness “in all manner of conversation” (1 Peter 1:14-15).

Neither are we to let sin reign in our bodies, but we are to yield ourselves as “instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:12-13). Since we are “risen with Christ,” we are to “mortify” the fleshly appetites, “put off” emotional outbursts that reflect an ungodly nature, and “put on” godly attributes so that whatsoever we do is done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:1-17). HMM III

Character Assassination

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” ~ Ephesians 4:29

Two of the most precious things we have this side of the grave are our reputations and our lives. But isn’t it sad that the most contemptible whisper may deprive us of the first one (reputation) and the weakest weapon of the other (life)?

I am sending a call to all godly men to passionately protect the reputations and lives of all. Refuse to participate in the popular American pastime called “character assassination.” There’s absolutely no honor in that.

A man of true nobility will rise above the crude talk that dominates our culture today. ~ SS

Isolation, the Silent Killer

“A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.” ~ Proverbs 18:1

Isolation can be a killer. To remain unconnected from meaningful, accountable relationships with godly men is an invitation to disaster.

Joe* was a young man I mentored in the early nineties. At one time he made it big in the world of high finance. Successful. Articulate. Bright. Educated. He was a married family man with four beautiful daughters.

Joe accepted Christ and subsequently sensed a call into the ministry. He planted a church not far from where I live. The ministry grew and prospered under his capable leadership. We would meet periodically over lunch, and our connection of trust allowed us to go to build accountability that kept us both on track and healthy.

But out of nowhere he stopped showing up. I emailed and called him several times and didn’t get any response. I decided to assume he was simply busy.

Then one day I received some news that sucked the wind out of my lungs. Joe had an affair, separated from his wife, and a few months later, he committed suicide. I felt substantial levels of grief the morning I heard the news. Beyond the obvious, my grief was intensified by the unnecessary nature of this tragedy.

If only he stayed connected to someone… perhaps a wife would not be a widow, four girls would still have a daddy, I would still have a friend, and a church would still have a loving shepherd.

Let this serve as a wake-up call to all of us. We need each other, because isolation can be a killer. You and I were not meant to do life alone. Men need other men to help us be the men God created us to be. ~ SS

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