Our Temptation Series continues today with us unpacking how to avoid the Consequences of Compromise. If you have missed the previous posts we first introduced the series using Abraham’s Nephew “Lot” as a case study (click here). We then studied about alcohol and drugs (click here), pornography and promiscuity (click here), adultery (click here), and most recently gluttony (click here).
Last Sunday the pastor at my church said that Satan wants us to bail out or compromise which got me thinking about this Thought for the Day because you can see this happening constantly in our culture. Today we will delve into the pitfall of compromise. If you have been following our blog, you know that this is a topic that we have explored quite a bit in the past; and that is because if this area is out of line, then every other part of your life will be affected. If we say we are a Christian then we must be very careful not to allow things “to slip” in this department. Now I am not living in a fantasy-land, I would love to say that all temptations goes away once you accept Christ as your savior but that would be denying what 1 Corinthians 10:12 (ESV) warns.
“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”
Temptation is real and will never go away while we are on this side of heaven. And compromise is a slow fade…What we say, the jokes we laugh at, how act should align with the faith we profess. I truly feel that how we handle ourselves should be the same regardless of who we are with. What do you think about that? Is that possible? I can honestly say that I try to be the same person whether it is with my daughters, my wife, a co-worker, my pastor or a stranger. Something that I have always tried to keep in mind is what I once heard motivational speaker, author and former pastor John Maxwell say:
“I am always one step away from stupid.”
What a humble statement and great wisdom too! No matter how far along you are in your journey, you are always one bad decision away from blowing it! In an instant we could ruin our legacy and reputation that we have built over a lifetime of good choices. Peer pressure from friends, or demands from employers/clients, or one’s own ambition to climb the corporate ladder can exert a huge gravitational pull towards compromising our moral or ethical beliefs. That is why we must heed the warning of 1 Corinthians and be mindful not to give into the enticements that satan dangles in front of us, whether it be cheating on an exam or our spouse, turning a blind eye to corruption or willingly partaking in it. This may be cliché but you will never regret doing the right thing and not going along with what people are doing. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (NLT) instructs…
“Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.””
When we allow ourselves to be influenced by how we will be perceived or to make choices that we know are not God honoring, we open ourselves to some devastating consequences.
Today’s case study fell victim to the trap of yielding to the court of public opinion. Saul was the first king of the Israelites and was anointed by the prophet Samuel to lead. On the outside, he appeared to be quite “kingly,” but on the inside he desired only to garner the people’s approval and would do anything for that affirmation. For those not familiar with King Saul here’s the cliff notes version about this man.
“There was a wealthy, influential man named Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. He was the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, of the tribe of Benjamin. His son Saul was the most handsome man in Israel—head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land.”
So Saul came from a wealthy family and looked the part as well. In verse 17, he received a great endorsement from the prophet Samuel…
“When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said, ‘That’s the man I told you about! He will rule my people.’”
So he came from the right family, he looked the part and had the right supports. Saul had everyone hoodwinked including the prophet of God. It’s interesting though, when it came time to appoint Saul as King of Israel, he was nowhere to be found. 1 Samuel 10:21b-24 says:
“And finally Saul son of Kish was chosen from among them. But when they looked for him, he had disappeared! So they asked the Lord, “Where is he?”
And the Lord replied, “He is hiding among the baggage.” So they found him and brought him out, and he stood head and shoulders above anyone else.
Then Samuel said to all the people, “This is the man the Lord has chosen as your king. No one in all Israel is like him!”
And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”
“Long live the king!?” The people cheered to receive a king that was “hiding among the baggage” at the time of appointment! From the onset, Saul proved he did not have what it takes; you can read all about his reign in 1 Samuel 11-13. As war continued with the Philistines, and hopelessness was spreading amongst the ranks, Saul’s true colors came out as he waited for Samuel. 1 Samuel 13:8-14 (NLT) recalls:
“Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself.
Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him, but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?”
Saul replied, “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. So I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.”
“How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after His own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
As a result of not trusting in God and his desire to keep his men in line, Saul violated God’s command that only his prophet could present the offering so he lost the kingdom as a result of giving into compromise! The same can happen to us in our jobs, our marriages or our friendships if we too follow in the way of Saul. I got this fortune cookie once that I thought was priceless…
“Do not mistake temptation for opportunity.”
We need to practice discernment and realize that it is our choice as to what we give into. Now I don’t subscribe to fortune cookie wisdom, so let’s see what the Bible says…
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
Satan doesn’t make us do anything; we make the decision whether or not to compromise. This is something that I am hoping has come through loud and clear that yielding to temptation is on us but if we trust God He will help us through it! Living a life of truth is everything! In the post ★ “Back to the Basics” – Pursuit #2 – What Are You Feeding On? ★, we discussed all about the attacks of satan, spiritual warfare and the importance of putting on the Armor of God. In Ephesians 6:14 (NLT) it says:
“Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.”
The Belt of Truth is intended to hold everything together. The Apostle Paul gave this advice because without living a life of integrity everything will fall apart. Proverbs 21:21 (ESV) has this promise for everyone who will choose a different path:
“Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.”
But will we choose to pursue the tough road, the road to righteousness? Or will go the much simpler, more traveled road of compromise? I will close this with this thought from Jimmy Evans:
We all make mistakes; the key is what you do once you have made it. Will you continue in that compromise or sin, or will you come clean with God and set things straight. The starting point goes back to trusting God. We need to daily renew our mind and our relationship with our heavenly Father in order to serve God in our school, friendships, vocations and our families! That is why this site is called “Daily Dependence,” because we all need to keep Christ at the center of our lives! What will you choose to do?
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