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26th June 2024


Fit in But Stand Out

The call upon the Christian is to fit in whilst at the same time standing out. Living distinctively for the Lord.
Jesus has won the ultimate & decisive eternal victory, but we still dwell in occupied territory. The spiritual war is won but not yet over!!
Evil is defeated but not yet fully eradicated & therefore we live in a hostile host empire (Ephesians 2:2).
We are in daily combat with the ungodly forces & powers at work in the world the flesh & the devil (Ephesians 2:1-3).
There are four main ways that Christians have sought to take a stand historically – defence, relevance, purity & faithful presence.
Each has merit & Biblical precedent & today we will consider the position of DEFENCE (we must protect the truth at all costs).


But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; 1 Peter 2:9 NKJV


Believers & Christian organisations adopting the position of defence are passionately motivated to stand firm upon Christian truth.
Standing strongly upon Biblical truth, along with Christian morals & ethics, without compromising & giving in to worldly ways.
This of course is to be commended (Jude 1:3) & supported. Living in God’s world, God’s way is important.
Being obedient to the Lord’s precepts & commandments is vital for Christian living.
As Christians we believe that God’s will, word & ways are always for our, & societies, greatest good & highest welfare.
How appropriate & proper it is to strongly push for (even force) Christian truth upon wider society is the crux of the question.
It was never such a big issue in Christendom (a Christian empire) but is now part of the challenge of living in a Post-Christian era. SELAH

The key thing to consider is the manner & mode of defending (contending earnestly for) & standing upon Christian truth.
Is this truly being done with loving respect & genuine sensitivity. Wise as serpents & gentle as doves (Matthew 10:16). SELAH
The potential difficulty with the defence approach is that it can become confrontational, argumentative & even aggressive.
A siege mentality of us versus the world can then get quickly established!! This adds strength & can easily spiral out of control.
The passion for truth can then boil over into a militant stance that can easily offend & alienate people.
People become more aware of what Christians, & Christianity, are against rather than what they, & it, stand for!!! SELAH
The message gets missed because of the passions, emotions & behaviour of the messengers!!!

The message being proclaimed by those seeking to defend the gospel & Christian truth is legitimate & important.
Christians do have a continuing responsibility & remit to stand firm upon God’s revealed word, truth & values.
However, if the message is being missed or misunderstood because of the way it is being promoted then that is a real problem.
It may be necessary & far more beneficial to win the person to Christ before you win the discussion, debate or argument!!
People must know you are truly for them if you are to win them over to your point of view.
God so loved (John 3:16) & actions so often speak much, much louder than words!!!
Wherever, & whenever, we are seeking to defend Christ, Christianity or Christian truth & ethics may we do so humbly & in love.
Christ deliberately lost (gave up His life) so that He might eternally win. SELAH

For Reflection

  • How faithfully am I living & standing upon the faith & truth once & for all delivered to the saints?
  • In what ways am I seeking to defend Christ, Christianity, or Christian truth & ethics?
  • Meditate upon how the manner & mode of delivering a message has such a powerful & profound impact.

A song related to this theme:


Prayer

Heavenly Father,
Thank you that You have once & for all delivered the truth of the faith unto your saints,
Give me daily help & strength to live faithfully in line with Your will, word & ways.
Jesus, You modelled humility & love in all Your ways, even in the midst of such fierce opposition,
Equip & empower me to walk in Your ways & to do the same.
Holy Spirit give me wisdom, understanding & discernment of which battles to fight & when,
Like Christ, & so many others in Scripture, enable me to fit in but also to distinctively stand out.
This I ask in the mighty Name of Jesus.
Amen

Written by Gareth Jones

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