Wednesday, May 23, 2012

No Compromise...?

It was just a regular, quick Facebook check. Or that's what it was supposed to be. But as I quickly fulfilled my reason for getting on Facebook and typed a quick note on a family member's status update, my eye caught an ad on the side of the page.
It was not an unfamiliar ad, or even a disgusting or disturbing one (though I have seen my fill of those!), but it was an ad that I had seen before, many times, until once I had clicked on it out of interest. After that I had visited it once more because it popped up again, and recently I decided to delve into it to see what it said. The ad has several different forms, but always mentioned the former model who started it and promising a place where tough issues like boys and faith would be tackled-and it's Christian site for girls. I was both excited and wary when I first saw this add, and when I came onto the site both of them were confirmed.
The website did have many articles that I would call very well done. One, for example, listed 10 reasons to worship God. One talked about the reason for church. Another talked about worship and its benefits. As I smiled at these posts though, I noticed that something was wrong.
One of the articles was about Taylor Swift's donation and how it reminded the author to give things up for someone else. I do agree that it is a good example and a good lesson she learned from it. But Taylor Swift, however "innocent" she may be, not only wears less than Christ-honoring outfits in her shows, but also speaks of inappropriate content in some of her songs.
Another article was about makeup, and what they thought the appropriate age to be wearing it was. Although they did stress in the article that makeup was not necessary and we don't need it to be beautiful, the amount of makeup they were encouraging (even if they recommended it for around 16-18) included foundation, eye makeup, bronzer, the whole package. Unfortunately, I find that it's not very easy to use any amount of makeup without becoming dependent on it. I have nothing against makeup, but I feel as though it's often a stumbling block for girls.
A third article was about a recent decision made by Vogue magazine, who decided not to hire any models under 16 or those who looked too skinny. Although I definitely agree with these guidelines for the magazine, the website encouraged the magazine a lot, even adding some pictures of some magazine covers to the post-despite the fact that the model's clothes were a little...revealing.
Rather than personally attacking this particular website (which, as I said, had many articles that were helpful and encouraging), I mean to attack the view of modern Christianity-that kicks out the "no compromise" agenda.
The common view is that "if it's better than the normal 'bad', it's good." You would hardly find a Christian website advocating Lady Gaga (actually, there was an article describing her Satanic influences on the site) but Taylor Swift is okay...she hasn't had any nude pictures on the cover of magazines and the sexual hints in her songs are subtle. Makeup is okay, as long as you don't wear too much before you're 15, and of course you're only using it to accentuate your appearance and not for any dark reasons. And Vogue is applauded because it changed its rules for models.
I'd say we have to agree to disagree.
What if, instead of holding Taylor Swift up as an example, we encouraged people to no longer listen to her (or any non-Christian singer's) music and devote this part of their lives to God? Even if the non-Christian music doesn't have any swearing, drugs, drinking, or immorality in it, can't we strive for something better? *Note: I know that it's very hard to find "good" Christian music's very true. But I'd encourage you to try, because there are Christian music artists of all genres and styles. You're bound to find something you like. Discouraged? Comment on the post, and I can recommend artists to you.*
What if, instead of encouraging makeup, we challenged girls to try a month without it to discover that God really does think of them as beautiful with-and without-makeup? Even, we challenged them to throw out all their makeup and pray that God would show them their true beauty comes from within, and that "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." (Proverbs 31:30)
What if we, rather than applauding magazines like Vogue, we advised girls to steer clear of those magazines that focus on nothing but the outer appearance and worldly pleasures? What if we told them, that instead of reading the magazines, to read their Bibles? Instead of paying for a subscription, maybe using the money for something worthwhile?
I'm just saying that too often in the Christian world we settle for less than we could be giving. Rather than truly devoting ourselves to God, we are caught between ourselves, trying to serve God and other things. But the Bible says that this doesn't work. "No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Luke 16:13). Psalm 86:11 says. "Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name." These show that our heart can be divided. And we need to follow God with all our hearts!  "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’" (Mark 12:30 ESV) [Emphasis added]. Not with half, or part, or even most of our souls-we need to give God all of us and be uncompromisingly righteous.
Of course, we won't be perfect all the time. We won't always serve God with all of our hearts. But does that mean we don't try? No! If we lose some of our treasure-which is our life and our time, it's not time to throw the rest out! We are promised an eternal reward if we are believers-but the only way to live a joyful, radiant, and fulfilled life here on earth is when we run to God, letting Him take control of us and give us the strength to follow Him.
Oh yes, we can't follow Him on our own. We aren't able to, we aren't wired the right way to do that. Even when God changes us, you could say He reprograms us, we're used to going the wrong way. So it takes time, effort, and patience...with a large dosage of God's grace, strength, and love to get us through. And if you persevere, I can promise you from experience that it is worth it.
The title of this post was inspired by a book that I'm about to read, called No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green. It's written by his wife, Melody Green, about this inspiring Christian singer who lived life to its fullest for the Lord before dying at a young age in a plane crash with two of his children. The title comes from a song that Melody herself wrote, and it begins like this:

Make my life a prayer to You
I wanna do what you want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers no compromise

No compromise. Are we willing to push that, even though others (Christians included) will think we're crazy? Are we willing to follow God no matter what it costs? Are we willing to stand-alone?

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