Keys to the Kingdom By Carolyn Tucker
When I was in my teens, my folks had some friends drop in for a visit. (It was common for family and friends to come over unannounced back then, and I miss that custom nowadays.) Since my mom and dad were chatting with the couple, I decided to make a batch of mom’s scratch brownies. When they finished baking, I joined the foursome outside and we ate our warm treat. Although I hadn’t added any nuts to the recipe, I kept noticing something crunchy as I chewed. This was such a mystery to me that I went into the house, looked in the mirror, and discovered white stuff embedded on top of my jaw teeth. I was horrified when I realized it was eggshells! Obviously, I wasn’t paying close-enough attention and a tiny piece of eggshell had sneaked into the batter.
It was just a minuscule piece of eggshell, but it completely ruined my brownie-eating experience! Let’s compare eggshells to compromise. Going just a little bit below what you know to be right is compromise. It seems like the world is going out on a limb to compromise. The devil will tell you that it doesn’t matter — everybody does it. The devil is a liar and God tells Christians to live differently from unbelievers. “Happy are all who search for God, and always do His will, rejecting compromise with evil, and walking only in His paths“ (Psalm 119:2,3 TLB).
The dictionary’s definition of compromise is: to accept standards that are lower than desirable; something midway. When I was growing up, I learned, “Do it right, or don’t do it at all.” Grandma Jennings taught my brother how to fold laundry. She had a certain way she wanted it done, and that’s the precise way it had to be. If he did it wrong, he had to do it all over again the right way. This life lesson taught him to follow instructions and be consistent in his endeavors. Grandma refused to let him do something halfway right — what a tremendous lesson on compromise. Just don’t do it!
The Bible is our primary source of instruction, authority, and ethical standards. “How can men be wise? The only way to begin is by reverence for God. For growth in wisdom comes from obeying His laws” (Psalm 111:10 TLB). The ways of the world are in opposition to the ways of God. Christians are clearly instructed to fully obey God and not compromise His standards. God’s moral compass always leads us in the right direction.
Jesus understands the temptation to compromise because He’s been there, done that, and successfully rejected it. “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15 NLT). When the devil offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, all He had to do was fall down and worship Satan one time…just once. But Jesus answered Satan with these words: “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve‘” (Matthew 4:10 NKJV). Quoting God’s Word when tempted to compromise worked for Jesus, and it will work for us too.
Pay close attention to your daily lifestyle because you’re representing Jesus in a world of compromise. Exhibiting high moral standards will make you stick out like a sore thumb, but that’s OK.
The Key: The tiniest piece of compromise can ruin your witness. Just don’t do it!