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 (Manna 74: Standing Firm)
A Faith That Is Never Compromised
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A Faith That Is Never Compromised

Based on a sermon by Wen Chuan Yeh—Pacifica/Sacramento, USA

Compromise: A way of reaching agreement in which each person or group gives up something that was wanted in order to end an argument or dispute.[1]

Based on this definition, compromise seems to be quite positive. It helps us to end arguments and to live together in harmony. In fact, we often need to compromise in our daily life—with our colleagues, classmates, friends, and family members.

Some people pride themselves on their ability to deal with different types of personality. This is indeed not easily achieved, and society needs people who know how to compromise. But in our faith, we cannot compromise.

Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly—and indeed you do bear with me. For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!

(2 Cor 11:1–4)

Paul reminds us here that we have to be faithful to Christ. We can only have one God, just as we can only have one spouse. In our faith, we must be devoted to this one true God and the only true gospel, for only they can lead us to eternal life.

However, living in this world, we often face many types of pressure, such as from our peers, our colleagues, or even our family members. This pressure can cause us to compromise our faith.

The ancient saints, such as Moses, Daniel, and Paul, also encountered such pressure. Even Jesus was faced with the temptation to compromise. But we find that they did not succumb, no matter how great the temptation. Even when their lives were threatened, they still held on to their faith. So how did they handle such situations?

MOSES

God had commanded Moses and Aaron to lead the Israelites on a three-day journey into the wilderness to worship God. Moses asked Pharaoh’s permission to leave with all the Israelites—men, women, and children—together with their livestock.

But Pharaoh repeatedly tried to negotiate with Moses: first, he tried to convince Moses to sacrifice to God in the land (Ex 8:25); second, he allowed them to go, but not too far away (Ex 8:28); third, he permitted only the men to leave (Ex 10:11); and finally, he commanded that they leave their livestock behind (Ex 10:24). Although Pharaoh was one of the most powerful men in the ancient world, with the authority to kill anyone at any time, Moses and Aaron insisted that not a single hoof should be left in Egypt (Ex 10:26). The Israelites had to completely depart from Egypt, the land of bondage. We do not know whether Moses and Aaron were afraid, but we do know that they stood firm in upholding God’s instruction. They did not yield to fear or weakness.

Likewise, we must not give in to our weaknesses at the cost of God’s commandments. Sometimes we may feel especially tired, and we tell ourselves that it is okay to skip service once. But the following week, we might have the same excuse. Although this seems to be a valid reason, we must have faith that God will bless us if we keep His word and put Him above our own needs. Jesus Himself has set the example: during His ministry on earth, there were times when He was very hungry or tired. Yet He continued to preach the gospel, to heal, and to pray.

DANIEL AND HIS THREE FRIENDS

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. (Dan 1:8)

When Daniel and his three friends were taken captive to Babylon, they were given an education and a daily portion of the king’s delicacies and wine. But the four young men determined not to eat the king’s food, because it included things that were unclean according to the Law.

Although good things were placed before them, they did not compromise. Instead, they only ate vegetables and drank water. Yet God took care of them so that they were healthy and beautiful in appearance. God also gave them wisdom, which exceeded ten times that of the Babylonian scholars. Today, if we do not compromise in our faith, God will look after us.

There was a member in the United States who used to work at a hotel. Most hotels require their staff to work on Saturdays. Not long after he came to believe, he was laid off. While he was job hunting, he had many opportunities. But the jobs offered to him required him to work on Saturdays. Since he knew the importance of the Sabbath, he declined these offers.

One year passed. He still could not find a job that did not require him to work on Saturday. Some people might start to panic in such a situation. But this brother continued to hold on to God’s commandment and did not compromise his faith.

After a year and a half, he found a job that allowed him to keep the Sabbath. The salary was already quite good, but three weeks into his new job, his employer told him that he had miscalculated his salary—he was given a pay raise! If we truly hold on to our faith, we will honor God as number one. And even though it seems as if we are losing out sometimes, God will take care of us.

Later on, Daniel’s three friends were faced with the threat of execution if they did not bow down to the image King Nebuchadnezzar had made (Dan 3:13–15). This was a life or death situation. If they bowed down and worshiped the golden image, their lives would be preserved. But if they did not, they would be thrown into a fiery furnace to be burned alive.

If we were in their shoes, would we bow down and worship? Maybe we would pray to God, “Lord, I will just worship this once and then never do it again. I am very reluctant, but there is just too much pressure.”

Although their lives were at stake, Daniel’s three friends insisted that they would not worship the image, because they feared God (Dan 3:16–18). They believed that the God whom they worshiped would deliver them from death, and even if they were to die in the burning furnace, they would accept their fate. Their resolve was unshakeable.

They were thrown into the furnace, but God protected them and they suffered no harm. Their clothes did not even smell of smoke. If we fear God, we would not compromise our faith, even when threatened with death.

PAUL

During Paul’s ministry, there were people who preached that Christians also needed to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses to be saved. Many Jewish believers, some of whom were very influential, agreed with this concept. But Paul openly withstood them, because he knew that this was contrary to the truth. He debated with the Jewish converts who tried to teach the brethren in Antioch that circumcision and the Mosaic Law were necessary for salvation (Acts 15:1–5). He also rebuked Peter for being hypocritical and not eating with the Gentile brethren when the Jewish converts were around (Gal 2:11–16).

Although these were his brethren and kinsmen, Paul did not keep quiet or compromise just to maintain peace or to please everyone. Instead, he stood up for the truth and preached the gospel of salvation until he breathed his last, because he knew that only the truth can save souls (cf. Gal 5:1–12; Tit 1:10–16; Acts 28:30–31).

JESUS

After Jesus had fasted for forty days and nights, Satan came to tempt Him. At that time, Jesus was physically weak. When we are hungry and tired, our willpower is also weakened. The devil offered Jesus solutions to satisfy His hunger and tempted Him with wealth and fame. Yet Jesus did not compromise. Instead, He resisted the devil with the word of God (Lk 4:1–13), for He knew that Satan would only draw Him away from God.

A FAITH THAT IS NEVER COMPROMISED

Both Jesus and the ancient saints in the examples above were faced with great pressure either from the people around them or from the circumstances they were in. Yet they did not compromise their faith, because they feared God and firmly believed in His word. Today, how can we stand as firm in our faith as they did?

Through God’s Word

When Jesus was tempted, He resisted Satan with the word of God. Although the temptations were great, He firmly withstood them because He had God’s word in His heart. Likewise today, our faith has to be established on and be rooted in the word of God.

To achieve this goal, we need to diligently study the word of God through attending services and daily Bible reading. Sometimes, this can be challenging, especially in today’s fast-paced society where everyone is so busy. Hence, we must be self-disciplined. Set service attendance and personal spiritual nurture as priorities in your daily life; make them must-dos on your schedule, as you would your daily meals and going to work or school.

As we learn God’s word, we must remain prayerful, humble our hearts, and seek to truly understand what God wants to teach us through His word. Only then can the truth take root in our hearts; only then can we bear fruits for the Lord; only then can we resist the pressure that the world puts on us to compromise our faith.

Through Prayer

Throughout His ministry on earth, Jesus spent much time in prayer. Before He was tempted, He fasted and prayed in the wilderness for forty days and nights. Hence, when Satan tried to tempt Him, Jesus remembered the word of God and could use it to resist the devil.

Daniel was a prayerful person too. The Bible tells us that he prayed three times daily, even when the king had decreed that nobody should petition any god or man for thirty days. When Daniel did not comprehend the prophecies and visions he received, he prayed for understanding from God (Dan 2:17–23; 9:20–23).

Today, we may be studying the Bible or learning the word of God through sermons. But if we do not pray, we may not be able to understand or remember God’s word.

[N]o one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. (1 Cor 2:11)

The guidance of the Holy Spirit is key to understanding and being inspired by God’s word (Jn 16:13). Therefore, we must pray continually and ask the Lord to reveal the truth to us. If we meditate on God’s word in our prayers, He will open our spiritual eyes to know His will and give us the strength to practice His word.

By Practicing God’s Word

Once we know the word of God, we need to put it into practice. Just as Paul stood up for the truth when it was challenged (cf. Acts 15:1–5; Col 2), we too must stand up for our faith. Then, we will experience the Lord’s grace and be strengthened even more in our faith.

CONCLUSION

In our life of faith, we need to constantly draw near to God, immersing ourselves in His word and praying more in the Spirit. If we seek Him with all our heart, let His Spirit and word dwell in us richly, and become doers of the truth, we will never lack in personal experiences with the Lord.

These experiences will in turn strengthen our faith and trust in Him. His Spirit and word will grant us spiritual wisdom and courage so that we can truly know whom we have believed in and stand firm in our faith until the very end.

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Author: Wen Chuan Yeh
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