This weekend while on Summer Camp, I started reading Keith Green’s biography, which is called No Compromise. I actually started reading it because I’m going to be moving into my church (which is a massive, 11 bedroom house called the White House) in March and it’s required reading. Being as excited as I am about moving into the White House, I was keen to read the book. By the way, Keith Green’s life was incredible. If you haven’t read the book I highly recommend it.
What I didn’t realise was just how much God was planning to use this book to emphasise some of the things we had been talking about and praying about at Summer Camp. We’d been talking about the journey from law to grace to relationship, and what that looks like with regards to different aspects of the life of a Christian. It’s an interesting and yet somewhat confusing topic, but I found that relating it to the way we rear children (or the way I imagine I would rear my children- as well as seeing the example of those with children around me) made it easier to understand.
When you are a child, you are told what is right and wrong. Your parents make those decisions for you and if you break the law you are disciplined. As you get older, you begin to understand a little bit more about what is good and what is bad. You begin to understand the concept of ‘do unto others as you would have done to you’. Then, as you begin to journey into adulthood, you begin to understand the concept of choice. As a Christian, it means that you decide to do what you see the Father doing. You live in relationship with him.
As our level of maturity grows, the way we are raised changes. The law isn’t bad- in fact it is quite relevant at certain stages of your journey towards God. But you can’t be saved through law alone, for Romans 3:23-24 says
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Why then, was the law given? it was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised… Galatians 3:19
Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. Galatians 3:24-25
The law was for us as children! God never intended that to be where we stop. He just wanted us to know that we couldn’t save ourselves. When you’re in a relationship with someone, you want to do things for them, love them, serve them. That’s where faith without works comes in, for a faith without works is also without love, and without love you are just a noisy gong (James 2:19-20, 1 Corinthians 13:1).
We also talked about how we often try to introduce people to the law or the church but often neglect to actually introduce them to God. We talked about how important it is to live a life that reflects God’s glory, as is repeatedly stated in 1 Peter.
When I look at Keith Green’s short life, I am overcome by his incredible passion to share the love of God with as many people as possible. Keith and his wife Melody began to share the gospel with people as soon as they made a commitment to follow Christ, often welcoming recovering drug addicts or young, pregnant teens into their home. Keith was burdened with a passion to share Christ with everyone he came across, even going as far as giving away thousands of free CDs and doing heaps of free concerts because he believed that all who had ears to hear should be able to hear and not be restricted by their financial status. His constant struggle with humility astounded me. The journal entries his wife has shared in the biography show a heart distraught by its pride, and yet it is obvious that Keith was incredibly humble and eager to serve the Lord in any way he might ask. I looked at my life and I didn’t see pride. How large the log in my eye must be!
God spoke to me and to most of my community at camp about the need to reignite our passions both for him and for the lost. Keith’s life spoke to me about this too, and I have come away from the last few days feeling as though there is no more time to waste. Keith Green died in a plane crash at 28. That’s only five years older than I am now. God has spoken to us about the harvest that is plentiful, and has called us to be the workers. I don’t want to spend my life being lukewarm, for God says in Revelation 3:16
…since you are lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!
God has called me. Am I willing? I am. But it means that there is no compromise. I have to be completely willing to sacrifice anything that comes between me and God. Right now, that’s staying where I am work-wise, even though I often feel undervalued and disrespected. God wants to use me there. Right now, that’s my desire to get married. I’ve wanted to have my own family ever since I was a child, but I realise that right at the moment I need to put that dream aside. Forever, if God asks me to. I don’t think that he is asking me to give this up forever (I hope not!), but for now it is a hindrance to what God wants me to do- whatever he wants me to do, and so I must be willing to give it up. I don’t want to be a vine that doesn’t bear any fruit.
Right now, God is teaching me to be humble. To put aside my pride and relinquish control over my life to him. He is teaching me what it is to be in relationship with him, what it looks like to spend time in prayer and in his word. He is teaching me to be joyful in the sacrifice.
I will not compromise. My life is not my own. I have died to myself, and have been made new in Christ. I am nothing without him.