As I thought and prayed about what we should talk about this week, I had a few subjects on my mind. But one subject in particular that I’ve been thinking about for several months came up in a cool way, and I feel it’s definitely time to talk about it. I usually start writing and really digging in on Tuesdays. So the first thing I did when I woke up the day of writing, was pray that God would open my eyes to what we were going to talk about. After I finished praying, I opened my emails. I Only had one new message, from Pac-Sun titled “no gray areas” which happened to be the exact title I’ve had in my head for so long now.
What that title means to me, is this. The world is very black and white. There are no real gray areas when it comes to following God, being a christian, and what is right and wrong. This is actually a pretty deep subject that I feel for the most part has a pretty simple answer.
There’s absolutely no question that we live in a time where the moral line is constantly pushed, trampled, and disrespected. What’s right is called wrong, and the fundamentals of the Word of God are being forgotten. Even in the church there are a lot of people who have been swayed by the words of the world. There’s been a shift in christians saying our views are intolerant, or old fashioned and wrong. There’s even been a slant in direction when it comes to what christians believe is acceptable and ok for them to participate in.
A lot of these skewed views come from the belief that there is a gray space, or that we can ride the fence in certain areas of living as a christian. It allows for a bending of the things that were never meant to be altered. This false gray area is the reason our country continues to go in a direction that is so anti God. And ultimately it’s the reason for so much anger and dissatisfaction in life, for christians and non christians as well.
There is a big benefit in knowing how black and white life really is. It will help us be confident in where we stand, and it will re affirm our convictions. It will open our eyes to the importance of standing for Christ and the principles of the Bible. It will hopefully help us make better decisions, and re focus our minds. And it will help us resist sin.
Gods way or our way.
“And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.””
Genesis 4:3-7 NKJV
We see in this account of Cain and Abel, two approaches to living for God. On one hand, we have Abel who was all in, obeying and giving the first of what he had to the Lord and seeking to please God. But on the other hand we have Cain. He wanted to obey God, but he also wanted it his way. He wanted to live in a gray area. To push the line and see how far he could go without it being sinful and wrong. He wanted to say “yeah, I obey God, I give an offering, I love him.” But he wanted to do it in a way that was easy and convenient for himself. And when God wasn’t pleased, he was disappointed and angry. The bible says “his countenance fell.”
God accepts those who are all in for him. He blesses the heart that wants to serve him and truly seek his will. He respects the heart of a true servant. But he doesn’t respect us when we try to live in a gray area. When we try to do what he’s told us while still living as selfishly as possible, God is not pleased.
I think we’d all love to say we are like Abel. We want to model his approach to God. But I know when I’m truly honest. I resemble Cain and his approach to God far more often. Hopefully it’s not just me who struggles with this. I really think most of us today try to live life in the gray. To have what God wants along with what we want. We so often paint a false picture that the gray actually exists.
That we can live pure as long as we don’t have sex. But lusting after someone and watching pornography, that’s not sex, so I’m ok. I’m in the gray.
That we can give a tithe, and as long as we gave at least a little something, it’s honoring to God. But I’m not going to give my tithe before anything else. I have to make sure I can pay for all my necessities first. I’m in the gray though.
That I can be a reflection of Jesus as long as I’m serving in my ministry at church. But I have to yell at my family sometimes, or they won’t listen. I don’t really reach out to strangers either but, it’s alright I’m doing something. I’m in the gray.
And the list goes on and on. You get the premise by now I hope. We want to live by Gods standard but we also want it to be easy and not intrusive to us or anyone else. So we bend what he’s asked of us. And the result of that type of life is just like Cain and his results of trying to live in a gray area. Anger. And a fallen countenance.
We are disappointed with the world and the state it is in. Not satisfied with our lives. And unhappy when we don’t see God richly blessing us.
There is only one way to to be accepted and respected by our Heavenly Father. Through a heart that wants to serve God and honor him in every action. Not self seeking. And willing to live for God even when it’s not convenient or easy.
“Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:28-29 NASB
Are you surprised?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
John 1:1-5 NKJV
I wanna focus on a few key pieces of this scripture to get a stronger grasp on why believing there is a gray area is so wrong. When this text was written, it was in Greek, and it would have said “logos” in place of “the Word.” Logos meant to the Greeks “word, reason, or plan.” Logos was based on the theology and philosophy of the divine reason implicit (implied) in the cosmos, ordering it, and giving it form and meaning.
The way this is meant to be understood, is God is the reason for order. He is order and meaning. He institutes everything and gives it form. Without him there is nothing. He is the law of the universe. He is the plan and the planner. He set it in motion and he has given us a book to follow in order to stay on track and in cadence with the divine plans he has made. In black and white he has defined right and wrong. And principles to govern our lives so we can experience the beauty he created for us. There can be no grey because that implies a shadowing or darkening. And darkness does not comprehend the light. (Does not comprehend God)
So how does this tie in with gray areas for us? Let’s find out.
So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. Genesis-
To me it’s almost as though God was saying, “are you surprised I’m not psyched about what you offered? How can you be; if you offered with your whole heart wouldn’t you be accepted?”
God knows that there is no gray area. And he was telling Cain he shouldn’t be surprised that when he tried to live there, things didn’t go well. There is no middle space when it comes to following him. You either are all in. Heart and soul, or your not. There’s no mostly in, or everything except this one thing. It’s black and white. God was essentially telling Cain, “you realize you can’t live in a gray area and serve me. Gray is just a lighter shade of black. I am the law and the order and when you try to bend what I say it simply doesn’t work.”
Isn’t it sad to look at the state of our country? The level of twisted perversion and evil that is so common place now. All because our country has chosen to live in a grey area. And it doesn’t work. It’s going against Gods plan. It’s warped. It’s bent. And it’s broken. And it’s the reason we are disappointed and upset when we turn on the news. And its our own fault. We’ve allowed this to happen through years of weakening our grip on God.
I had a christian friend who asked me if I thought it’d be bad for him to go with a group of friends from school to a concert. He said the artist who he’d be seeing and I knew without a doubt it’s not the kind of concert a christian needs to be at. The atmosphere and the content of the music was not in any way going to be positive for him. He told me he knew it wasn’t a good place to go, but it wasn’t like he was going to be doing drugs or let the music influence him to do anything crazy. I told him whether he’s a participating or not, he’s still supporting it by being there, and he’s allowing evil into his life when he has the option not to. He didn’t end up going.
That would’ve been living in a gray area. Not participating but not standing against it either. It’s small things like that, that over time, tear us away from God. Gray area after gray area until our country is falling apart from a lack of conviction to stand against what’s wrong and what’s evil.
Gods word is the law. God is the law. He is the plan and when we deviate in any way shape or form from what he has set before us were on a path to brokenness and dissatisfaction. We shouldn’t be surprised this world is crumbling when we fail to take the opportunity to stand up for what’s right. When we continually allow people to step further and further over the line without taking a stand against it. When we consistently allow gray areas in our own lives to skew and numb our hearts to the terrible things happening around us.
There is only black and white, and we need to realize that.
Rule over the sin, and do well.
And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
Knowing there is only black and white when it comes to right and wrong brings structure and reason to life. When we are fully aware that there is no such thing as a gray area. We can’t hide behind anything anymore. We can however rule over the sin just as God says. This gives me perspective, and helps me realize the importance of standing against all sin and evil. No matter how small or great.
Now I know that someone could take what I’ve written as endorsing a form of legalism. But that’s not what I’m saying at all. I want to be clear. I’m not saying there is only black and white in order to prove I’m better then anyone else, or that christians as a whole are better. And I’m not saying we have earned anything from God. That’s not the case. What I am saying is we have to put an end to allowing gray areas to permeate our culture. We have to stand up for what’s right, and show the world the beauty of a pure life lived for God.
The more gray we allow in our life, the more we’re going to be lacking in character to stand for what’s right. The more we bend to fit the world, and the more gray areas we have, the less of an example we’re going to be. When we stand up against all sin. And walk in the rhythm God intended, it’s a beautiful thing. Our lives will be blessed for that. And above all, one incredible thing will happen.
Ruling over sin and living well will put you in a place of opportunity to stand up for Christ. When we acknowledge there’s no gray area and live a black and white life, that doesn’t mean we have to go out of our way to tell every single person who is blatantly sinning how wrong they are. But by our example they will see how much better and fulfilling of a life we live. And God will give us the opportunity to stand up and speak out.
God doesn’t need people to run around yelling at the world, he needs people willing to “live well. And rule over sin.” and stand up for what’s right when the time comes. He wants a people willing to love others right in the middle of their mess. People who are capable of walking through the fire of this world without getting burned, so we can pull people to safety. Living black and white. God will open doors for his followers to speak up and be heard. And if enough of us “live well,” as God said, the world can change for the better. For those who want to see the world change, there are no gray areas.