A friend of mine has reached his limit and I sympathize. In his words, “I have tried it that way for 25 years and now I am going to try it this way!” This way is a relationship with a person who does not know Christ. This way is the finding of a “soul mate” whose soul is as yet—unredeemed. Years of failed relationships with Christians, years of failed attempts have made him willing to try it “this way” for a while. He has come to a point of compromise.
Compromise is a spice that hides the bitterness of sin beneath the sweet savor of self-deception. When conviction will not do, when integrity does not bear the fruit we seek, compromise entreats us, promising all we desire. And in order to have all we desire we ignore the warnings that dare suggest we wait a little longer for the Lord’s blessings to come. The world whispers, “Compromise!”
Comprise promises an easier meal than the steady diet of trials found at the Lord’s table. It tells us that sweeter morsels are to be had elsewhere without the rigor of righteous living . It whispers that Christ is too slow in coming, too slow in His rewards. We have, though with faltering steps, walked in His way and yet we have not received “all these things.” We sought the Kingdom of God and yet very little has been added to us. We are single and lonely, childless and longing, poor, hungry, sick, and seemingly prey to the strong, the rich, and the ruthless. Even our hearts whisper, “Compromise!”
The truth is we all grow “weary of doing good.” We reason, “Why should we be completely honest in our business when loopholes exist? Why should we remain abstinent when sex is readily available? Why should we cling to Christian standards when they hinder our earthly betterment?” And a thousand reasonable justifications whisper, “Compromise!”
I am weary and I am lonely so it is easy to ignore the barbs associated with comprise and to imagine that the sweetness it gives will never sour and that I will not become drunk from its fruit. It is easier to seize the very present reality that is before me than to wait and hope for some far off pleasure or distant reward. Today hope limps in its old age. It has become threadbare and ragged—overused. It croaks out its promises but is drowned out by the harsh sorrow of life. All these things, but especially the things I can touch, hold, and make mine, whisper, “Compromise!”
But I dare not. If my salvation is sure then His promises are true and if the sweetness before me is an offense to Him—it is an offense to me. No matter how lonely I get, the person I seek is one who will draw me closer to my true love—Christ. No matter how much money is at stake Christlikeness is the only option. No matter the position of power or promised pleasure, no matter the relational fit there is no sole-mate other than that soul who has been renewed through the power of Christ’s sacrifice. None of these, no compromise is worth my soul. No compromise is worth minimizing the impact of the Spirit’s work in me and through me.
There is, of course, a difference between compromise and faithful steps. There is a difference between acting on what is good, a difference between seeking first His kingdom, and the folly of compromise. Not every good thing is clearly delineated. Rarely will we receive green lights to move us forward and red lights to halt our steps. We live by faith not by sight. Sometimes stepping out in faith means doing what is within the bounds of Scripture without clear, precise, direction. Most of the time we are left to pray, to seek Godly counsel, to search scripture, to wait, and then to act in faith. This is not compromise!
Compromise is the choosing of what is not of God, not right before God, or that which is destructive, for the sake of our immediate satisfaction. Acting in faith is seeking FIRST His kingdom and accepting “these things” from His hand. Compromise is extending our hands to take from the tree despite the warning that if we eat of this fruit—we will surely die.
Rather than compromise I will commit my ways to the Lord and await the fruit of His kindness. It is not all I can do—it is the best I can do. “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked” (Psa. 84:10).
Prov. 27:7, Is. 5:20, 7:9, Rom. 12:2, 2Cor. 5:7, 2Cor. 6:14, Gal. 6:9
(First published October 2007)