I was having dinner with a friend last night, and we started talking about dating among singles. And I mentioned that I find it interesting how we all have something we compromise about. That one area where we rationalize behavior and thinking we know is wrong even though we know God sets a clear standard in the opposite direction.
And I’ll say the same thing here I said last night: I’m not judging anyone else for his/her choices. I’m not pointing any fingers. I’m not calling out any names. I’m not questioning any specific behavior. I’m just acknowledging what I see to be true: even though we call ourselves Christ followers and profess to love God, we all have at least one thing or one area where we toe the line of righteousness. Where we know God says “no” but we choose to stop listening. Where we preach to others how God says to act yet we choose not to let our walk match our talk. Where we choose to do as we please instead of going the narrow way toward God’s best.
Ouch! It would definitely hurt less to have this conversation if I wasn’t throwing myself under the bus too. But I didn’t exclude myself then – or now. Sure, I could brag and say I’m honoring Paul’s reprimand in 1 Corinthians 6:18 and am therefore a good Christian girl. I could boast that I don’t take the Lord’s name in vain and regularly go to church (Exodus 20:7-8) and am therefore a good Christian example.
I could come up with a million ways to make myself feel good about the majority of my choices. But there will still be that one thing or area where I turn away from God’s goodness to do what makes me feel good, happy, whole, or stable.
Because no matter how good I am – or how good I “behave” – if I choose to do life my way instead of God’s way, it is sin in the form of compromise. And compromise is dangerous to my faith. Compromise draws me away from God’s presence. Compromise leads me away from God’s grace. Compromise steers me to challenge God’s truth.
Compromise opens the door for me to sin bigger and bolder without remorse or regret. Because compromise permits me to rationalize any and every choice according to my standards instead of God’s. One wrong choice leads to a bigger wrong choice, and the cycle continues until we are living life without care of God’s righteousness and will justify everything we do. Just like James warns us – “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:15) and Solomon warns us – “There is a way that seems right to a man But its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 16:25).
But just because I can justify my choices to myself doesn’t mean I can justify my choices to God. Because one thing about His Word is that it is clear – God determines right and wrong and tells us exactly where the demarcation line is. Want to know if you living God’s way or justifying your behavior? Go to the Word and look HONESTLY at your choices. “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
So what conclusion have I drawn from all this? Doing life God’s way brings the best rewards – but it requires the hardest and least likable choices (at times). It requires saying “no” to your flesh, “no” to your emotions, “no” to your hormones, and “no” to your comfort zones. It requires you making the difficult – or least pleasurable – choice now for best results later. It requires being fully respectful of yourself, the people you are in relationship with, and the people around you – in actions, in words, in choices, in thoughts. All of this plus more is what Jesus means in Matthew 7:13-14 – “13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
So compromise will come knocking. You have the choice to answer with welcoming arms and seemingly harmless choices – which will crack the foundation of your faith. Or you can slam the door shut and choose to live life God’s way – which will seal up your cracks and reassure you of His love. How will you answer?
Marie Fremin. 2/23/17