2nd July 2013

Standing Firm

“But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.”
Acts 5:29 (NKJV)

I heard a story recently where a church changed its location and a lady member, whose husband is opposed to her membership, wouldn’t let her have the car to drive to services. He said that the longer journey was ‘unacceptable’ and that he couldn’t be without the car for that extra length of time. Following intercession in prayer for her by others, he relented, albeit with continuing reluctance. 

My point? When times are easy for the Christian, does the Christian take life easy? Only when things become difficult do we have to decide whether we stand up and be counted, or whether we buckle under. When we read some of those books in the New Testament about persecuted congregations, how do we feel we would have coped? And then I wonder how they would have coped in this day and age with our situations. 

There are Christian groups who send emails to me all the time urging me to put pressure on my MP or some other official against some practice or law coming into force which they feel is contrary to Christian practice and belief. I’m often tempted, but I always resist. 

The reason? I remember the wise words of a friend of mine, who once said that his motto for life, including this Christian life, is that he had standards of thought, expression and behaviour that he had no intention of compromising or abandoning, but that he had no such prior conditions for someone else. He respected the standards of others, even where he couldn’t accept them personally. He once related the story of a great friend of his from a different Church with vastly differing rules of behaviour for their members. “I respect your beliefs, and I respect what you do and how you behave in upholding those standards. But don’t expect me necessarily to comply with them where they go against my conscience.” 

I later reminded him of Paul’s comment in 1 Corinthians 9:19-22 about being all things to all men, even to his hurt. “Ah yes, but Paul also never compromised his standards or his behaviour where meeting someone else’s standards and beliefs would compromise his own.” he replied. 

And this, perhaps, is where our nation has gone wrong. Because we now have no standard other than “it shouldn’t hurt anyone else”, or even perhaps “don’t get caught!” We compromise all the time with our rules and standards of behaviour as a nation, to placate all kinds of minorities. And, frankly, the result is not a pretty sight.

Loving Father, thank you for the standards you give us through the Bible, and the life and example of Jesus Christ. In being acceptable to all, help us also never to compromise on Your standards. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by John Stettaford


johnstettafordAbout the Author:
John Stettaford is an Elder in the Reading Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Reading
Prospect School, 6th Form Common Room
Honey End Lane
RG30 4EL

Meeting time:
Saturday 11am

Local Congregational Contact:
John Stettaford
Phone:  01923-241426
Email: pastor@wcg-reading.org.uk

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