Compromise . . . how many times in a day do we find ourselves compromising on things we say we believe in? Three of the definitions for “compromise” stated in “TheFreeDictionary.com” are (1) a weakening or reduction of one’s principles or standards; (2) to reduce the quality, value, or degree of something, such as one’s ideals; and (3) an exposure of one’s good name, reputation, etc, to injury. (Quote source here.)
To compromise is to make concessions or accommodations for someone who does not agree with a prevalent set of standards or rules. The Bible makes it clear that God does not condone compromising His standards . . . . Not compromising requires our unswerving submission to Him and to Him only, regardless of the world’s concession to godlessness (Joshua 24:15; Psalm 119:10; Psalm 119:15). . . .
As believers, we must “see to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8; see also Hebrews 3:12). We are also commanded to be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you . . .” (1 Peter 3:15). In other words, we are commanded not only to remain faithful to the Word but to defend it and correct those who are in opposition to it (2 Timothy 2:24-25). God is serious about our not compromising His Word with the values of the world—the reason being that those outside of Christ may then “come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil . . .” (2 Timothy 2:26).
Then there are those who profess to being Christians, yet live lives not in keeping with the precepts of the Scripture, i.e., compromising their biblical beliefs by living like world. For them, the things of the world and its sensual allurements take precedence over the Word of God (Acts 20:30; 1 John 2:16-19). Jesus referred to these people as “those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (Mark 4:18-19). These are the ones who, though professing to follow Christ, compromise their faith by craving worldly success and accolades from their fellow man. Jesus chastised such people who rationalized their questionable behavior: “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:41-44). In other words, to compromise in one’s total allegiance and devotion to God is to allow the allurements of this world, with its accompanying worries, to take precedence over Christ (Matthew 6:24). (Quote source and full article here).
“Compromising their biblical beliefs by living like the world” . . . and we do that all the time here in America. We love the excesses afforded to us by our society so we indulge and before we know it our conscience is seared by our lack of restraint. And if enough of us do it we don’t even recognize the major error we have made in our relationship with God. After all, we rationalize that everybody else is doing it, too.
The way to spiritual power and favor with God is to be willing to put away the weak compromises and the tempting evils to which we are prone to cling. There is no Christian victory or blessing if we refuse to turn away from the things that God hates.
Even if your wife loves it, turn away from it. Even if your husband loves it, turn away from it. Even if it is accepted in the whole social class and system of which you are a part, turn away from it. Even if it is something that has come to be accepted by our whole generation, turn away from it if it is evil and wrong and an offense to our Lord and righteous Savior . . . .
Every Christian holds the key to his or her own spiritual attainment. If he or she will not pay the price of being joyfully led by the Holy Spirit of God, if he or she refuses to hate sin and evil and wrong, our churches might as well be turned into lodges or clubs. (Devotion for July 6.)
Read that last sentence again . . . “If he or she will not pay the price of being joyfully led by the Holy Spirit of God, if he or she refuses to hate sin and evil and wrong, our churches might as well be turned into lodges or clubs.” And many have been turned into Christian “social clubs” not only in Tozer’s day but has quantified substantially in the 52 years since Tozer’s death. Sin is just “no big deal” to many of us anymore. And why is that? It’s because we don’t take what God says seriously anymore. And that is an error of staggering proportions, the ramifications of which we cannot even begin to imagine. And nobody seems to care.
We major on what we want and forget that we serve a Holy God. We wink at sin as if it just doesn’t matter all that much in our fast-paced and easy access society today. Besides, Jesus is always there to forgive us, right? Our heart attitude is really into serving self and not God, but we can sure make it look like we are serving him to others and maybe even fool ourselves along the way. Yeah, we can put on a really good show with a smiling face. Unfortunately, God is not so easily fooled, even if we think we can fool the rest of our world. And the world isn’t fooled that easily, either, but it can often be bought with gossip and money, and that includes many in the Christian world who profess to be Christian. “Bigger, better, more, more, more” is the motto of our day in America, and it doesn’t matter who we are or what we say we believe in, either. And who really cares if we possibly end up destroying someone else (whether it’s their livelihood or reputation or both) through our gossip or lying to get what we want? We rationalize that our gain (whatever it happens to be) from their loss is God’s blessing, right? Not by a long shot. Anathema . . . And there’s always a payback to that kind of deception.
In two devotions titled, “Love Good, Hate Evil,” and “Love God, Hate Sin,” previous to the one mentioned above in the same book, Tozer wrote the following:
Love Good, Hate Evil
If we are committed, consecrated Christians, truly disciples of the crucified and risen Christ, there are some things we must face.
We cannot love honesty without hating dishonesty. We cannot love purity without hating impurity. We cannot love truth without hating lying and deceitfulness.
If we belong to Jesus Christ, we must hate evil even as He hated evil in every form. The ability of Jesus Christ to hate that which was against God and to love that which was full of God was the force that made Him able to receive the anointing–the oil of gladness–in complete measure.
On our human side, it is our imperfection in loving the good and hating the evil that prevents us from receiving the Holy Spirit in complete measure. God withholds from us because we are unwilling to follow Jesus in His great poured-out love for what is right and His pure and holy hatred of what is evil. “Hate the evil and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate” (Amos 5:15). (Devotion from July 4).
Love God, Hate Sin
People remark how favored the church is in this country. It does not have to face persecution and rejection. If the truth were known, our freedom from persecution is because we have taken the easy, the popular way.
If we would love righteousness until it became an overpowering passion, if we would renounce everything that is evil, our day of popularity and pleasantness would quickly end. The world would soon turn on us.
We are too nice! We are too tolerant! We are too anxious to be popular! We are too quick to make excuses for sin in its many forms! If I would stir Christians around me to love God and hate sin, even to the point of being a bit of a nuisance, I would rejoice . . . . Vance Havner used to remark that too many are running for something when they ought to be standing for something. God’s people should be willing to stand! (Devotion from July 5).
Do you think this is a bit too hard-hitting? Good. There are too many people out there soft peddling as easy Christianity that just doesn’t exist and way too many folks have swallowed it because it sounds so good. We don’t need more pastors/teachers who coddle their congregations with teaching that twist the Bible to their own benefit (either for status or money or both)–and certainly that is not to say that all pastors/teachers do that, either. But there are many who do. Even the Apostle Paul stated in Colossians 2:8:
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
And also Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4; 13-15 regarding the false teachers of his day:
I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. . .
For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
Unfortunately, we believe almost anyone who claims to be Christian and especially if they have any kind of following or they are popular on the Christian speaking circuit (with their plethora of books and other materials to peddle) and/or have the educational “credentials” we esteem despite what they teach. And often we are unaware of their deception because we do not study the Bible for ourselves, pray for discernment, and develop our own relationship with Jesus Christ to be able to recognize the deception.
And discernment? What’s that? Spiritual discernment has to do with wisdom and the ability to distinguish truth from error. The following statement is from GotQuestions?org regarding how to increase one’s spiritual discernment:
It is not wrong to possess knowledge or have an education, and it is not wrong to use reason and logic to solve problems. However, spiritual discernment cannot be attained that way. It must be given by the revelation of Jesus Christ to the believer, and then developed by way of training in righteousness (Hebrews 5:14) and prayer (Philippians 1:9). Hebrews 5:11-14 shows how spiritual discernment is developed. The writer speaks to those who had become “dull of hearing,” meaning they had fallen out of practice discerning spiritually. The writer of Hebrews tells them that everyone who lives on “milk” (rather than the “solid food” desired by the mature) is unskilled in the word of righteousness; however, the mature Christian has been “trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” The keys, according to this passage, are becoming skilled in the Word of God (by which we define righteousness) and “constant practice” (through which we gain experience).
So, how does one increase spiritual discernment? First, recognizing that God is the only one who can increase wisdom, pray for it (James 1:5; Philippians 1:9). Then, knowing the wisdom to distinguish good from evil comes by training and practice, go to the Bible to learn the truth and, by meditation on the Word, reinforce the truth.
When a bank hires an employee, he is trained to recognize counterfeit bills. One would think that the best way to recognize a counterfeit would be to study various counterfeits. The problem is that new counterfeits are being created every day. The best way to recognize a counterfeit bill is to have an intimate knowledge of the real thing. Having studied authentic bills, bank cashiers are not fooled when a counterfeit comes along. A knowledge of the true helps them identify the false.
This is what Christians must do to develop spiritual discernment. We must know the authentic so well that, when the false appears, we can recognize it. By knowing and obeying the Word of God, we will be “trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” We will know God’s character and will. This is the heart of spiritual discernment – being able to distinguish the voice of the world from the voice of God, to have a sense that “this is right” or “this is wrong.” Spiritual discernment fends off temptation and allows us to “hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). (Quote source and full article here.)
Too often in today’s world and, yes, among Christians, we have so compromised the way we live that we fudge on what is “right” and “wrong” on a regular basis. Our conscience has been seared by our own desires and society’s excesses, and nobody out there is warning us of the impending danger. The following statement is from GotQuestions?org:
For human beings, having one’s conscience seared is a result of continual, unrepentant sinning. Eventually, sin dulls the sense of moral right or wrong, and the unrepentant sinner becomes numb to the warnings of the conscience that God has placed within each of us to guide us (Romans 2:15) (Quote source here.)
Much like the frog–who was placed in a pot of water that was slowly heated up to the boiling point–was totally unaware of his impending demise, we are in the exact same predicament, and we don’t even recognize it for what it is. James 4:17 states, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” But do we care? Our reaction to that verse speaks volumes about our spiritual state.
Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wants to be my disciple
must deny themselves
and take up their cross
and follow me.”
YouTube Video: “Lose My Soul,” by TobyMac (with Kirk Franklin & Mandisa):