1 Timothy 6:11-12 - But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Recently, the Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, spoke at the Institute for National Security Studies.
His message was not an overly encouraging one. He said that any future Israeli war will need to continue until there is a decisive result, even if Israel needs to take over a quarter or more of the Gaza Strip. Lieberman continued: "The military will not stop until the other side waves a white flag."
No, I don't like to hear any defense minister from any country speak that way.
About the only good thing that could be said about Lieberman's address was he understands the nature of war and believes the ultimate goal of any conflict is a complete and total victory over your enemy.
That, I am afraid, is a concept which escapes many 21st-century believers.
You see, when it comes to our battle with sin, all too often people don't want to win a clear-cut and decisive victory; they find it preferable to live in peaceful co-existence with evil.
As proof of that statement, I offer up the evidence of many Christian pulpits. I can remember a time, not so many years ago, when almost every church was clear in its condemnation of sin. If the Bible said something was wrong, well, that action was wrong. Period. End of reading.
But now, if you listen carefully, you will find that the clear-cut difference between black and white has become pretty blurry. At the same time, the amount of grey in people's lives has grown considerably.
Would you prefer a practical example? That's easy, too. At the beginning of my ministry, almost 50 years ago, I knew some old pastors who could state that there had never been a divorce in any of the families in any of the congregations they had served.
It's pretty hard to find a pastor who could say the same thing today.
We could give many other examples. How about movies? Movies which a few years ago would have been condemned as being immoral and unacceptable for God's people to see are now listed in the category of being a film nobody, including Christians, can afford to miss.
The path of compromise with wrongdoing is not the road the Lord would have His people walk.
Far better for us to follow the Savior who avoided temptation, took a stand against evil, and did all that was necessary to "call us out of darkness into His marvelous light" (see 1 Peter 2:9).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that I may recognize evil and avoid it. Help me shun every compromise that might be detrimental to me and others, which might blur the witness of thanks my life should make to the Savior. In His Name I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries