A great example of this dilemma and how easy it is to be seduced is found in thechief priests and Pharisees who were troubled about Christ. For them, the concern wasn't whether He was preaching the truth and obeying God. Had that been the only wrinkle they could have politely turned their heads. Instead it was what He was doing while He was preaching that created the predicament for them.
When Lazarus came to life and walked out of the tomb they asked themselves:
If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.
- John 11:48
Out of fear for their position, out of desire to not raise the ire of the Romans, they decided to avoid trouble by killing Him. These were just human men. Faced with a rather obvious choice, in retrospect, it's easy to point fingers and hold high the standard. But how often do we neglect, reason out, or explain away parts of God's word because of what might happen to us?
Have you, like I have, ever been afraid to properly emphasize some features of the Word because of how it might be recieved. I've certainly glossed over areas of spirituality and belief out of desire to widen my appeal (or simply not offend!).
In my own life, I've reasoned out and legitimized all sorts of behaviors and choices. In what way am I different from those leaders who ignored the actions of the Christ to save their own lifestyles? A proper fool am I then, that I refuse to trust the one in whom I place my salvation.
Of course, I'm not all awash in fickleness and simplicity. Often times I've steeled myself as should be and left the results to God. The trick then is continuing in that behavior, the strength of which I infrequently partake. As a true servant I must ask first what is right, and only then apply it to my desires. As follower of Christ I should be the least trammeled by what others may think or say or do. As a servant of the Most High it no longer matters whether any one else believes and teaches what I teach or not, or whom it offends or confirms, as long as God said it.