It doesn’t take much for us to falter, flounder or fall. I’ve seen it over and over again through the years, first as a youth minister, then as a minister behind the “big church” pulpit. I’ve watched over the years as young men and women compromise themselves for people who leave them anyway (and I never said I told you so, even when I told them it would happen…I’m not doing that now, I promise). I’ve watched them, and others, continue on in compromise, living with folks who will not commit to them in marriage, or compromise in the jobs they decide to follow, or compromise in the groups of friends they pal around with. And I find this truth to be generally true unless or until Christ intervenes: compromise begets compromise. It doesn’t stop, and it eventually draws you away from the truth, so as to justify the life you’ve built for yourself. And I know this because I was that young man once upon a time. I was a man who lived by compromise.
And here it is again: compromise is an excuse to get what we want, even when we know it’s not good for us. We convince ourselves we’re making the right decision, that person we’re chasing is “one of the good ones,” even though they don’t want to commit to us on God’s terms. It’s how we excuse our behaviors around our friends and social circles. It’s how we justify ourselves, night after night, and still go to bed feeling empty and alone. We try and fake it, until we cauterize our conscience to the degree where we can no longer hear the voice of God whispering “I have better for you than this.”
Loved ones, it’s time to set aside compromise. It will be difficult, yes, but letting go of compromise does NOT mean letting go of compassion or hating people. Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners (my family and I read that together this morning), but He did not compromise Himself, nor did he permit sin, nor tolerate it. He drew people FROM sin to Himself, and, thus, to His Father. There is no room for compromise in the Kingdom of God. We are either for God and against the world, or we are for the world and against God. We cannot have feet in both camps, as they are opposed to one another. It will be hard to leave, but it is, ultimately, the better road, and the one I have chosen. It hasn’t been easy, I have stumbled, wept before God, and struggled, but He has always faithfully led me on the right paths. He will do the same for you. James 4:1-12
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
1 John 2:15-29
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.
I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.