Compromise: a word that can be taken and understood two completely different ways. Good compromise happens when two or more parties decide to agree on something even if it means someone will ultimately have to sacrifice something. We all know people in our lives who never compromise. Every situation, every argument, every story has to go their way, or they’ll make life miserable for everyone else. Thankfully, we also all probably know people who are willing to compromise or sacrifice their way to keep the peace, to keep things moving, to find resolution. Don’t we love those people?
However, bad compromise happens when somebody chooses to live below the standards they know to be true. People compromise when they make concessions and accommodations for their less than Godly behavior. We’ve all seen this in our lives. Sometimes, it is the smallest decisions that cause someone to stumble and give into temptation. Many times, we don’t even realize when the danger of compromise has begun to set in our hearts.
Throughout Scripture, there are countless stories of people struggling with temptation and compromise in their lives. Take David, who struggled with the temptation he faced after seeing Bathsheba in an intimate state, and ultimately compromised his faith and chose to take her as his own and have her husband killed. Take Peter, who after the Last Supper, struggled with the temptation to lie and cover up his following of Jesus and ultimately compromised his faith by denying Jesus three times. Even consider Zechariah, who struggled with temptation surrounding doubt when the angel told him his wife, Elizabeth, would conceive a child and compromised his faith by questioning the word of God spoken to him.
The common thread between these three stories is our natural bent toward not trusting what God has for us is best. This is the root of all temptation. We believe that the thing we are looking at, that which we are struggling with is better than what God has ordained to be. This is exactly what Satan tempts Jesus with when he is in the desert for 40 days. Satan tempts Jesus with sustenance, comfort, and being taken out of the trial, all things that would appear better than what God had ordained for him at the time.
But do you know what Jesus did? He resisted. He responded with Scriptural truth, he pushed back, he fought, and he did not compromise what he knew to be true. Jesus chose, in that split moment between temptation and compromise, to not give in. Friends, you and I can have this same outcome. You and I can resist temptation, we can stand firm on the promises God has made, and we can actively choose to believe what God has for us is ultimately better than whatever Satan lies in our way.
So, how do we do that? How do we face temptation without feelings of guilt, shame, or distress? Let’s all be reminded of the three things Pastor Tom shared with us:
Fight spiritual battles with spiritual weapons.
Just as Jesus fought Satan with Scripture, so can you. But don’t wait until you face temptation to begin believing and leaning on the word of God. Pray these Scriptures over yourself in a way that you keep them in your back pocket, ready to use, constantly reminding yourself of the truth.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2 NIV)
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 NIV)
Know your battlefields.
Every believer should identify those struggle areas in our lives. Just as we shouldn’t wait to begin believing and leaning on Scripture, why would we wait until the battle to determine where Satan is going to hit us the hardest? We need to prepare and be ready for the fight.
Live out of your God-given identity.
Satan will often tempt us and trick us into believing we are someone else other than who God has intended us to be. As you approach and battle temptation, don’t ever let yourself settle. You are God’s handiwork, adopted in accordance with his pleasure and will. Remember your identity is found in him. That is who you are.
The slow and steady crash of compromise doesn’t end well. But we don’t have to let that be our story. We have a God who faced temptation himself and showed us the right way to battle it. We can rest in that fact.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”
(Hebrews 4:15 NIV)