King Solomon’s life illustrated the peril of compromise (1 Kings 11:1-7). Concession begins in a seemingly insignificant way. For instance, someone might want you to make a financial decision that you know in your heart is unwise. But you go along with the plan because you don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings. You have compromised the message of the Holy Spirit, who warned you.
Small compromises lead to more serious ones. With each successive concession, our conscience is weakened. Ultimately, whenever we give way to evil – whether we let go of a doctrinal belief or simply listen to music that taints our thoughts – we always lose.
We compromise for a variety of reasons. Many do so from fear of rejection or of being unappreciated. Some choose this route to avoid conflict. Still others may begin to doubt God’s trustworthiness or goodness; as a result, they give up on Him, compromising their basic beliefs and undermining their reason for assurance.
To be men and women who are strong enough to resist making concessions, we need to develop some essential armor. First, we must have strong convictions about the Bible and depend on it as a guide for daily living. Next, we need to have faith in God’s promise to supply all of our needs. Finally, we must find the courage to trust in Him, even when we are misunderstood, persecuted, or falsely accused. When we surrender our life to God, He replaces enslavement to compromise with security in Him.
Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, January 29, 2018
Believers can be content in every situation because of this promise. Five negatives are utilized in this statement to emphasize the impossibility of Christ deserting believers. It is like saying “there is absolutely no way whatsoever that I will ever, ever leave you.”
Commentary from the John MacArthur study Bible, notes for Hebrews 13:5.
The response of the Galileans was fundamentally flawed because it disregarded the person of Christ and centered in the need for a constant display of miraculous signs. Such an attitude represents the deepest state of unbelief.
Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for John 4:48.
The greatest tragedy that can befall someone is to think he’s saved, only to discover after death that he isn’t. We’d all like to believe the claims of those who say they’re Christians, but Jesus gives a harsh warning because He knows many will be deceived. They will sit in churches week after week, professing that Jesus is the Son of God, but won’t ever really enter into a personal relationship with Him.
Intellectual faith isn’t the same as saving faith. It’s not enough to know facts about Jesus or to believe He died and rose again. Even demons believe that (James 2:19). Salvation involves more than mere knowing. It requires trusting that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sin, receiving His forgiveness, turning away from old sinful ways, and entering into a relationship with Him. What matters is not what we say with our mouth, but what we believe in our heart.
Although you probably won’t understand all that happens at the moment of salvation, when Christ becomes your Savior, He also becomes your Lord. As the Master of your life, He then has the right to govern what you do. His Holy Spirit takes up residence within you when you are saved, and that means you will change – God’s Spirit continually works to remove sinful attitudes and behaviors, replacing them with His spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).
We recognize a person’s salvation not by his profession but by fruit. If you are truly saved, your character will become more Christlike over time, and your desire will be to obey the Lord. This does not mean you’ll never sin or stumble, but overall, your life will be characterized by obedience.
Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, December 18, 2017.
Have you ever faced a challenge that left you feeling inadequate and afraid? The great men and women of the Bible weren’t superhuman, so they undoubtedly experienced the same weaknesses we do. Though Joshua was a strong military leader, he probably felt inadequate to fill Moses’ shoes. After all, Moses had talked with God face to face, performed amazing miracles, and led the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage. How could Joshua ever expect to live up to that?
But remember, Moses didn’t start out as a mighty man of faith. When God first called him to deliver the children of Israel, he focused on his own inadequacy and begged the Lord to send someone else (Exodus 4:10-13). Moses must have known exactly how Joshua felt. That’s why he exhorted his successor to be strong and courageous.
However, the strength Joshua needed was not going to come from positive thinking or puffed-up self-confidence. What he needed was assurance that the Lord would go ahead of him every step of the way and give the nation the land as promised. Confidence in God-given challenges never comes from within ourselves. But when we believe the Lord and rely on His word instead of our feelings, He’ll give us the ability and courage that we need to accomplish His will.
If your life were always easy, you’d never need strength and courage – and you would miss great opportunities to get to know the Lord intimately. Only as we face one faith-stretching challenge after another and experience God’s faithfulness will we learn to depend on Him instead of ourselves.
Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, December 9, 2017.
In God’s eyes, anyone who sins is rebellious, and Scripture tells us we’re all guilty (Romans 3:23). Now, it makes sense that an unbeliever would choose to act apart from biblical teaching. But what about those of us who have committed to follow Christ – what would cause us to stray from the will of our heavenly Father?
There are two powerful human tendencies that lead to disobedience: doubt and pride. Both can be dangerously misleading.
- Doubt is a mental struggle over whether or not to believe God’s promises. From our limited perspective, we cannot understand how the Lord works. Sometimes His way does not feel like the right path, so in order to obey, we must step out in faith. Then it can feel as though we are jumping off a cliff and trusting God’s invisible rope to hold us. If we listen to our doubt, we will surely transgress.
- Pride is the sin that caused Satan to fall from heaven, and it is a deceptive obstacle for believers as well. Pride has to do with thinking that our way is best, putting more faith in our ability than God’s promises, and desiring praise. Anything we do out of pride is rebellion against the Lord.
Whatever the cause, sin never leads to the Lord’s best for our life. God’s way is the only road resulting in fulfillment and peace.
The enemy wants to lure us with doubt and pride – both feel right and are easily justifiable from our human perspective. But believers should follow Joshua’s wisdom instead: “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, November 21, 2017.
~2 Timothy 1:12-14~
All people have a belief system whether they realize it or not. Even those who claim there is no God have faith that He does not exist. What we believe affects every area of our life and shapes each decision we make, yet few of us take the time to really think about what we accept as true.
All belief systems have a foundation. Some people base their convictions on what fits their lifestyle, reasoning, and desires. But that is not to be the case with Christians – Jesus calls His followers to adapt life to their faith in Him and the authority of His Word.
Anytime we add other philosophies or ideas to Scripture or pick and choose which parts of the Bible to believe, we create our own version of faith, based on personal reasoning. God’s Word is the only true and reliable foundation for belief, because it contains the recorded thoughts of an eternal, omniscient God. All other concepts must be measured against Scripture to determine their validity.
Knowing what the Bible says is essential for developing a sound system of beliefs founded on the truth and wisdom of the Lord. This world offers many philosophies that sound good but are laced with lies. A faith anchored in what Scripture teaches is your protection against deception.
Each time you face a problem or decision, search God’s Word for the answer. Begin your day by reading the Bible and asking God to help you understand what He is saying. He loves communicating with His children and as you spend time with Him, He’ll open your mind to know His thoughts.
Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, November 26, 2017.
Our life is to be based on the atoning work of Jesus Christ, who died to redeem us from bondage to sin. His precious blood paid in full the cost of all our transgressions – past, present, and future (Ephesians 1:7). Upon acceptance of the Lord’s sacrificial death on our behalf, we experience a second birth and become spiritually alive (John 3:3).
At that moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. His presence is proof of our new position in Christ, as well as a guarantee of our future inheritance and our place in heaven. As God’s children, we’re commanded to live a life of holiness, marked by a deep reverence for the Lord.
Our desire for holy living comes from knowing our Father’s character and understanding what it cost for us to be saved.
Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, November 18, 2017.