Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ISSUES OF THE HEART - 4: The Spirit of Compromise

COMPROMISE:
   - To make liable to danger
- To reduce the quality, value or degree of something

Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, 
and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 
And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, 
and no one gave him anything. 
Luke 15:15-16

The prodigal young son had left home with his inheritance, spent it all and had nothing left. A severe famine in the land caused him to be even more destitute. He found himself at the lowest point ever….working for a pig farmer. This young man grew up in a Jewish household, and would have known what God had said about swine. Jews would not have raised pigs since they were unclean and not used for food.

Also the swine is unclean for you, because it has cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud; you shall not eat their flesh or touch their dead carcasses. Deuteronomy 14:8

One may argue that he had no choice, but is this true? Did he have to accept the job feeding pigs? The young man could have thought that his situation was so desperate that feeding swine was rational and acceptable. Here is where the spirit of compromise steps in.

God has instituted laws that we, His children, are to follow. These are not to prevent us from enjoying life, but rather, they are to guide us in the right direction and protect us from harm’s way. However, the enemy of our souls always comes with an alternative. The more mature you are as a Christian, the more subtle and divisive his tactics of compromise become. It started in the Garden of Eden.

The spirit of compromise begins with a subtle questioning of God’s will - introducing doubt concerning your particular situation.

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Genesis 3:1 (emphasis mine)

The spirit of compromise never works alone. It is always accompanied by the spirit of carnal reasoning. Carnal reasoning operates through your senses – sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing – and works powerfully by manipulating your emotions.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. Genesis 3:6

Eve listened to the serpent, saw the forbidden fruit, touched it, and tasted it. (I'm sure that she smelled it too!) She reasoned that it was a good thing - something that would make her feel good - and she gave in to the spirit of compromise!

FAMINE
Famine is defined as a severe, drastic shortage of anything. Sometimes, in our own lives, we experience some sort of famine.

ECONOMIC FAMINE
We are in the midst of a global recession. This economic famine has affected the believer as well as the unbeliever. We, as the children of God, have a choice as to how we will respond to the crisis.

God doesn't need an economic stimulus plan. His law concerning finances is clear...we should return 10 percent of our earnings to Him, and we are expected to use the other 90 percent wisely (Malachi 3:10-11). He, in turn, promises to provide for us abundantly.

How easy it is to question the validity of God’s ordinance during hard times! How convenient it is to rationalize that you can’t afford to give your tithes! After all, the utility bills need to be paid, the children need clothes and food, the mortgage and car payment are due.

But God says...
Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear? For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all. But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. Matthew 6:31-33

MARITAL FAMINE
There are more separations and divorces today than ever before. The stresses of everyday life have put an enormous strain on even the best of marriages.

The enemy has launched an all-out attack on marriages, especially God-ordained, Christian marriages. He drives a wedge between husband and wife, using their own weaknesses against them.

It is tempting, during times like these, to consider separation by reason of "irreconcilable differences", emotional stress and downright lack of interest.

The enemy can then begin his bait with alternatives. Maybe life would be easier with someone else, and doing something else other than being married.

But God says...
Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. Mark 10:9

When God joined Adam and Eve - the first couple - He had a purpose for their union. It is the same for every marriage that has been sanctioned by the Father.


FAMINE OF THE WORD
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. Amos 8:11 (emphasis mine)

Today there is a great famine of the uncompromised Word of God. In many churches God’s ordinances are being manipulated, twisted or simply ignored to suit men’s carnal desires. Once again the question is now very subtly being asked, “Did God really say……?”

Many church leaders "reason" that the church must keep up with the times in order to be relevant and attract members. The culture of the world system has infiltrated the church.

Alternative lifestyles, secular music with "Christianese" lyrics, and programs that focus on improving personal comfort abound in places of worship. A righteous life that glorifies God and reflects the character of Christ is no longer the primary aim in many assemblies. Consequently there is a form of godliness without the authentic manifested power of God. The spirit of compromise has a stranglehold on too many of God's people!

FAMINE - MAN'S HEART
God never said that we should follow His rules only in good times, and adjust them to suit ourselves when things get rough. As a matter of fact, He uses those hard times to expose what was hidden within our hearts all along. The prodigal son's compromising mindset was unmasked during the famine.

There is a way that seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death. Proverbs 16:25

FAMINE - GOD'S HAND
He is a loving God, and history proves that in times of famine He always provides for His people who obey His commands.

When there was a severe famine in Egypt God had strategically put Joseph in place to manage and distribute the resources of the land. As a result his father Jacob and his family were fed. When there was severe famine in Elijah’s day, God instructed the prophet to go to the Brook Cherith, and then to the widow of Zarephath so that he would not hunger or thirst.

Whatever the famine is - financial, relational, spiritual etc. - God has a solution for you that lines up with His will.

Are you experiencing a famine in your life today? Examine your decisions, attitudes and actions.  Make sure that you have not reasoned yourself into yielding to the spirit of compromise.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, 
giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 
speaking lies in hypocrisy, 
having their own conscience seared with a hot iron… 
1 Timothy 4:1, 2

6 comments:

  1. Audrey,

    Your wisdom brings light to the condition of the Church today. As followers of Christ we must be true to our calling and expose the things that are not of God.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom on compromise.

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  2. Hi Audrey,

    "Examine your decisions, attitudes, and actions." All three serve as effective indicators of yielding to spiritual compromise.

    I agree that God can illuminate truth in our lives during times of famine. It is only through the light of God's truth that I begin to see the true condition of my relationship to Him and others.

    Thank you for sharing these words on the spirit of compromise.

    May the grace of our Lord extend favor to you and family in this coming new year.

    Blessings and peace.

    MTJ

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  3. You have the gift of teaching.
    Thank you for sharing this with us.

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  4. Matthew 6:31-33 have always been scriptures I keep close to my heart. Thank-you for sharing this weekend.
    God Bless and Happy New Year,
    Ginger

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  5. Even with the abundance we have here today there is a famine going on in the whole world for sure. You shared this truth very well. These are things we all need to think about.
    Blessings for a Happy New Year!
    Charlotte

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  6. Excellent observations from these Scriptures!

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