Friday, July 25, 2014

THE SKILLED ART OF COMPROMISE...

It is apparent to me that much of my success in business over the last 40 plus years stems from an innate ability to COMPROMISE. Being able to bring the two opposing sides of a disagreement together is an art. Most attorneys make their living this way, and each of us in our own daily lives go along to get along. Creating a "win/win" scenario is the ultimate compromise, where both parties walk away feeling that they have won something. Here are some common compromises from our every day lives:

We compromise daily with our children pretty much every day. When they are very young we bribe them stop crying, go to sleep or a myriad of other ways to control their behavior. It's a win/win. We compromise with our friends and families to keep the peace, on a regular basis. Everyone wins. We compromise with God, especially if we find ourselves over our head in deep trouble of one sort or another. Ever say to him, "if you just get me out of this, this one time, I will never, ever do this again?" You attempted to compromise with Him by promising him better behavior for His intervention. Young ladies, how many times have you compromised with your boyfriends, and vice-versa? Men, when you get pulled over by the police for speeding do you create a story for why you had to break the speed limit in order to get a warning instead of a ticket? You are trying to force a compromise. 
I could go on with how we compromise with our wives, our bosses, personal situations, professional situations and finally our religious belief system. 

Just realized that I put wives right next to bosses...maybe a Freudian slip!
In Revelation 2, we find our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, talking to John of Patmos, It is a relatively small island off the coast of Greece. The Roman Empire used this island for the most hardened criminals that were never to mix with society again. The emperor at that time tried to have John burned in oil, but it failed, so in frustration he decided to get rid of John a different way, permanent banishment. To be sure this is the same John that wrote the Gospel of John and John 1, 2 and 3. This Apostle named John lived more than 90 years, outliving all other Apostle's of Jesus Christ, and he maintained a very special relationship with God from the moment of his salvation. He is said to have written the Book of Revelation when he was 92 years old...

Did you ever have a dream that was so real that it just blew your mind? I am talking about a dream in living technicolor, that caused you to believe that you were actually there, and everything that happened was absolutely real. My dreams are usually related to what I am experiencing in my real life at the time. If I have a deadline to meet, for example, I might dream about my frustration in getting the work done. Most of the time these are relatively short, black and white dreams, that are mostly forgotten when I awaken. Once every couple of months, I get a BIG dream. It seems to absorb my entire being. I have been told that I can cry, talk and scream, as my mind lives the dream. If I wake up and then fall back to sleep, usually I pick up right where I left off...

John's vision was provided by Jesus, himself and confirmed by an angel of God, so that when we read Revelation we must be cognizant of the fact that Jesus is talking and telling John exactly what to write verbatim, and an angel confirms it's accuracy and authenticity. At the beginning of his vision, John sees and has explained to him that the 7 stars and 7 golden lamp-stands have special meaning. They represent these seven churches in what ancient Rome called Asia:
  1. Ephesus
  2. Smyrna
  3. Pergamum
  4. Thyatira
  5. Sardis
  6. Philadelphia
  7. Laodicea
So let's talk about church #1, Ephesus...The first 7 verses are dedicated from God to them directly. Jesus starts out by complimenting everything positive that they are doing as a Christian church. Basically he tells them that he knows everything about them, including their deeds, their likes and dislikes, their hard work and even what they think. He knows they do not tolerate wicked people. The problem is, according to Jesus, that they have forgotten the "love" they had in the beginning. He says, "repent and do those things you did at first."

When we were "babes" in Christ, we were enthusiastic and supportive of every good cause. The smile on the outside truly reflected the new, inner beauty of a soul having been wiped clean. You were in Sunday school, you were in church, you were in prayer meetings, you sang in the choir, you witnessed for Christ, and you made a difference in other people's lives. Remember when you last read and studied the Bible on your own? Remember the last time you were on your knees before God? Remember the last time you told someone on the outside what happened to you on the inside? Remember the last time you chose God and what you know to be right, rather than compromise yourself and your Savior?

In Rev. 2:6, Jesus says that he likes the fact that their church "hates the practices of the Nicolaitans." Jesus then says he hates them as well. The actual Greek words mean that they "utterly detest them with no chance of change." This is a compliment to those early Christians at Ephesus, but it is the first and only time that Jesus uses the word, "hate," that I can remember. So it begs the question, who were these people, and why are they utterly detested by Jesus. 

The etymology of the Greek word, "Nicolaitans," involves two words put together. This compound word combines, "Nikos and Laos." Nikos means "conquer or subdue", and Laos means, "the people." Lots of people conquer other people; however, in this case the Nicolaitans were early religious conquerors and compromisers. Initially this group was Pagan, then they became Jews and finally they became "Christians." They taught that if you take Christianity, mix it with a dash of Paganism, and Jewish law and lore, everyone can be as one. All you had to do was water down your belief system enough to tolerate others in the name of unanimity. They attempted to get Christians to alter their belief system, a little bit at a time. I call it INCREMENTAL APOSTASY. It creeps in slowly but surely, and initially you actually embrace these minor changes. After all it brings everyone together. Over time these small, but poisonous cells form a tumor, and then the tumor metastasizes into your lymphatic system, destroying your ability to see good from evil, right versus wrong, and ultimately godly vs ungodly. Once it conquers your Christian lymph system, you will become useless to God, because you have no solid foundation or point of view.

"Conquering and subduing" God's people for any reason is hated by God. You must hate it too. Incremental growth of compromise in each of us concerning our Biblical founded faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, will make us soft and susceptible to anything Satan wants to whisper in our ear...

Please do not compromise one jot or one tittle, no matter the ridicule, the punishment, the ostracism, or pain. Remember that John wrote this from prison and used Jesus's exact words. Pay attention and don't let your Christianity ever get frayed around the edges, because it's only the beginning.

Sorry for the length, but I had much to say...We will continue with the other 6 early churches over time.

God Bless,

The Digital Disciple




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