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Crisis of Character

May 1, 2007

"Even when the walls of our city are besieged, and the citadel is being stormed!  Instead of grasping our weapons, we lie down upon our couches!  Instead of the armor, we put on the silken robe!  We are cowards, when we should be brave!  We are faint hearted, when we should be bold!  We are lukewarm, when we should be fervent!  We are cold when we should be full of zeal!  We compromise and shuffle and apologize, when we should lift up our voice like a trumpet!  We pare down truth, or palliate error or extenuate sin -- in order to placate the world, or suit the spirit of the age, or 'unify' the Church.  Learn self-denying Christianity.  Not the form or name but the living thing.  A self-indulgent religion has nothing in common with the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ; or with that cross of ours which He has commanded us to take up and carry after Him, renouncing ease and denying self."
Horatius Bonar, "Self-Denial Christianity"

Compromise is nothing new to the human condition; in fact it has been visible throughout time since the beginning of existence.  However, upon close scrutiny of these modern times one cannot help but notice that compromise has been elevated to an art form, wherein most are willing to betray their standards, morals, beliefs, and even themselves, merely to climb another rung, to get one step closer to the brass ring they envision will bring them happiness and peace of mind.  

I began pondering the idea of having character amidst a generation of compromise while studying the book of Daniel one evening in my quiet time.  Though steeped in end time prophecy, and events, the book of Daniel has been dear to my heart ever since I was a child and heard a sermon in my grandfather's church about three young men, who though taken from their families, and brought to a strange land, refused to compromise their integrity, and chose to stand, when all others bowed.  

Though the prophecies in the book of Daniel are more real, and actual today than they were when written, the lessons and examples of these young men are just as actual and necessary for us to meditate upon.  Why, one may ask, would our postmodern culture need such virtues as moral integrity, courage, boldness, or inward purity?  What good are these virtues when no one is threatened with a den full of lions or a fiery furnace just because they serve God?  

It is true, especially in this country that we enjoy a liberty that many who came before us would not dare dream of, but even amidst all the freedom, the enemy is ever present.  The great deceiver still waits at the crossroads of every generation, with the appropriate arsenal in tow, looking for the weaknesses, always probing to find the chink in the armor.  For this present generation, indifference, opulence, pornography, alcohol, drugs, materialism, secularism, relativism, pluralism, false religions, astrology, occultism, transcendental meditation, fame or power, are just a few of the tempting delicacies the ruler of this earth has set out, hoping to entice the gullible and weak, those whose character has not matured, those given to compromise if offered the right morsel at the appropriate time.  

Throughout every generation, there have been those that stood, and those that bent their knee before the golden idol, those that flinched in the face of adversity, and those that pressed on, undaunted and undeterred even when offered a path of less resistance, knowing that in order to achieve less opposition, compromise would be inevitable.  

Just as God raised up the four young Hebrew men in Babylon, to resist, and be a living testimony against the system of compromise, more than ever, Jesus is calling to those who would carry His banner, and define themselves as Christians, to be men and women of character, and not compromise themselves for the scraps that Babylon is so gleefully offering.  If nothing else, I pray that this article serves as a provocation for every follower of Christ, to be a light in a world that grows progressively darker, and to be salt amidst a generation that is decaying at a disturbing, and often frightening speed.  

Today, when postmodern intellectualism has opened the doorway to relativism, giving it the undeserved respectability it has not enjoyed since the beginning of creation, when personal interpretation concerning relativism legitimizes everything as relative, when all ideas and beliefs are deemed to be equal and viable, when almost half of all adults consider that when a Christian, a Muslim, or a Buddhist, worship their respective divinity, they are in fact worshiping the same God just under a different name, I believe it is time to reacquaint ourselves with the book of Daniel, and for the sake of our very souls stand against these deceptions.  It is Daniel that so plainly reminds us, that there is only one God, that He is sovereign over the whole of creation, and only He is worthy to receive our worship, praise, and adoration.  

One thing is undeniable, there is a crisis of character within the church, and there is an absence of moral fortitude and unwavering integrity.  Too many have discovered, and accepted the idea that the more they compromise, the easier their life gets, the more they attempt to fit in, and blend in with the world, the more willing the world is to embrace them as one of their own.  

It would have undoubtedly been easier for the three young Hebrew men to give in to the pressure of standing before an entire nation, faced with imminent death, not knowing if their God would save them or not, it would have been easier to go along, and repent later for their absence of boldness and conviction, but if indeed they would have succumbed, if they would have relented, would the Babylonians have ever seen the power of the one true God?  The only way Nebuchadnezzar, and the whole of the Babylonian empire were able to see the might of God, was when these three young men, made the firm and unwavering decision that they were willing to die for that which they believed in.  This is a lesson, that we can neither dismiss nor overlook, and if wisdom be our guide, a lesson we can learn much from.  Who knows what great and wondrous things God would have done through us if only we had stood?  Who knows how many souls might have been reached if only we had spoken our convictions?  Who knows how different a world we might be living in today, if everyone professing to be a Christian had the character, integrity and steadfastness of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego!

If there is one positive, if we can find the silver lining in the current generation of compromise, it's that it is not too late, for you, or I to start being that faithful and true servant that God expects us to be.  While we still have breath, we can make the decision to be steadfast and uncompromising, to walk the walk, and not merely talk the talk, knowing that faith, and faithfulness toward God will never go un-rewarded.  

Revelation 2:10, "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

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