Pastor’s Corner: “The Long Slippery Slope”
1 Kings 18:21 (NLT) – 21 Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent.
There is a story of a man who could not decide what side he wanted to fight for during the Civil War? He put on the coat of the North and the trousers of the South, and guess what? He got shot at from both sides! This is what happens to the compromiser, the person who tries to live in two worlds. It’s one miserable place to be. Sadly, there are many in the church today that live a compromised life.
The Bible gives us an example in Revelation 2 of such a church: it was Pergamos, located in Pergamum, the capital of Asia Minor. Known for its rampant idolatry, Pergamum housed the altar of Zeus and was the center of Caesar worship. Idolatry, wickedness, and sexual immorality were commonplace. The sin of Pergamum was its toleration of evil, a sort of have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too philosophy. This is how many people want it today. They want to go to church — when they get around to it. They certainly want to go to heaven, but they still want to live in sin. They want to party and sin and commit immorality, lie when necessary, cheat if they have to, steal if it suits them, and hate and get revenge when someone crosses them.
I am not saying that a Christian will not sin. The Bible clearly says, “If we say we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). But there is a big difference between the person who sins, is sorry for it, and doesn’t want to keep doing it, and the person who continually, willfully, habitually sins over and over again and then says, “It is okay. God will forgive me.” The Bible says, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1, NIV). The devil introduced compromise into the church of Pergamos and he will introduce it into the lives of people today.
Compromise has been a constant temptation ever since Satan convinced Adam and Eve to reinterpret God’s Word his way. Compromise teaches that we really don’t need to obey God completely…that God isn’t sovereign…that there is no absolute truth…that we can pick and choose what we think is right…and that we can follow the world or do whatever we want.
If you look at the times in your life when you have fallen into sin, you could probably trace it back to a series of missteps — small compromises you made that led to the big compromise that led to your fall. Every sin starts with one seemingly small, harmless compromise. A decision to step barely over the line, telling ourselves we can handle it. It can start with wandering thoughts that over time lead to an action. Then secrecy follows. Every time we excuse one compromise, the next one becomes easier to make. Satan thrives off manipulating us little by little.
The very first sin that separated us all from God, started with a tiny compromise. Eve didn’t immediately bite the apple when Satan brought it to her attention. She listened to him, she looked at the fruit, she touched it, then she ate it (Genesis 3:4-6). We’ll always face temptation, but with Jesus’ power, we can resist giving in.
How can we resist Satan’s manipulation and refuse small compromises? Start by running from: Anyone who tries to convince us sin is better than obedience – Anything that tells us God is not who He says He is – Anything that tells us we will gain more by disobeying God than by obeying Him – Promises that sin can lead to anything but death. We should live in such a way that unbelievers could look at us and say, “There is something different about that person. They may laugh at you at times, but deep in their hearts they may deeply respect you. The compromising person, on the other hand, reaches no one.
If there is a breakdown in your relationship with God, it is only a matter of time until compromises start making their way into your life, until you start lowering your standards here and there. Keep your guard up. Stay close to Jesus, let the fire of the first love burn brightly, and you will be strong. I can’t promise that you will be sin-free. But you will have the power and resolve you need to live a life that pleases God.
Reflect: Have you ever felt trapped by sin, asking yourself, “How did I get here? “ Is there an area in life where you are currently compromising? What is one step you can take to stop compromising and turn back to Jesus?
In His Grace,