Are you partly responsible for the weakened influence of Christianity in your community? The unbelieving world can no longer see Christ in the flesh, but it does see the people who bear his name—the Christians. And what does the world see as it looks at us?
I am convinced that many of us fail in our witness for Jesus Christ because of compromise in our personal lives. When we were called to follow him we were asked not for a partial allegiance but for full surrender. His demand was not that we serve him with our lips alone but that we serve with our minds, spirits, and bodies. We were not called to follow the standards of the world with half our heart and our Lord with the other.
In other words, Christ has called us to be his own without reservation, and when we compromise with Satan we find ourselves walking on very dangerous ground.
There are so many ways by which we compromise with this enemy of our souls. When the Children of Israel were longing for freedom from slavery, Pharoah’s offers of compromises were typical of the way Satan works today.
To Israel Pharaoh said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land” (Exod. 8:25). How similar to the advice we get today. Don’t be a fanatic. Be in the world and of the world, for that is where the action is. Don’t try to be different; after all, aren’t you ‘salt’? You must stay close to the world.
Furthermore, it is implied that by staying “within the land,” by making a compromise with the world, we will find it much easier to be a Christian. But is this true?
The Apostle Paul knew the danger of compromise with the world and warned, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).
It is interesting how Egypt typified for Israel that which we see in today’s world order. There the people were slaves, even as the unregenerate are slaves of Satan today. Staying in Egypt meant continued slavery and alienation from God’s plan for them. Obedience to God required departure. Redemption meant transferring of citizenship. They were confronted with a choice, with a decision: obey God and leave Egypt, or Pharaoh and continue in slavery.
How subtle the urge to compromise with Satan! And how disastrous! All around us are men and women who are lost because they made the wrong choice. “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God” (2 Cor. 4:3, 4).
Pharaoh’s second offer of compromise has its counterpart today also. “I will let you go, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away” (Exod. 8:28). While God was demanding a clean break from Egypt, Pharaoh wanted the people to stay close. He knew that the vicissitudes of the wilderness would drive them back into bondage if they remained close.
Our Lord speaks of those in whose hearts the gospel seed is sown along with worldiness: “they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature” (Luke 8:14b). If necessary Satan will tolerate the seed of the Gospel, provided we do not wander far from his blandishments.
Because of compromise with Satan the Church is filled with people who are but little different from the cultured pagans all around them. They have never made a complete break with the world and are therefore not prepared to cope with the pitfalls that surround them.
Pharaoh offered another compromise: “Go, the men among you, and serve the LORD” (Exod. 10:7). He knew that if the men went leaving their families behind, there was no problem of their not returning. They would surely come back. Satan will make the same offer if necessary. He fears the truth and power of God’s covenant: “The promise is to you and your children” (Acts 2:39). He will divide families if he can, for he is familiar with the Apostle Paul’s words, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, and your household” (Acts 16:31).
When none of these ploys worked, Pharaoh tried yet one more, “Go, serve the LORD; your children also may go with you; only let your flocks and your herds remain behind” (Exod. 10:24). The cattle were their wealth, their earthly possessions. Leaving them in Egypt, the people would surely return.
Pharaoh was no fool; neither is Satan. When we surrender to Jesus Christ it must include a surrender of our money to his Lordship. True in Paul’s day, and true in ours, “the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs” (1 Tim. 6:10).
These are not the only compromises Satan suggests today. Have you compromised in your faith in God, in His Son, and in his written word? Through such compromise many find themselves powerless in preaching and teaching the Word. There is a subconscious realization that as one rejects the Christ presented in the Scriptures one has compromised so that he can no longer exhibit the power of the Holy Spirit in his witness.
Have you compromised in your habits? There are things so closely identified with the world that any compromise with them has a deadening effect. Self-discipline has never been more difficult than it is today. The Apostle Paul writes, “I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27).
The correction of the compromises in our lives is a personal matter. It is a question of honest confrontation with self, and it requires work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
I am not talking of some kind of asceticism, nor am I asking Christians to renounce many of the pleasures and joys to be found in the world. All I ask is that we make a clean break with any compromise with Satan, thereby experiencing a joy so far beyond and above anything the world has to offer that we find our hearts overflowing with the “peace” about which our Lord speaks, a peace and joy that the world cannot give, and cannot take away.
This is the way of freedom, freedom from the power of Satan and deliverance into the life Christ would have us live in this world—in the world but not of it. We will continue to be surrounded by a dying world order, but our lives will become the “salt” and the “light” about which Jesus spoke. We will live in a new dimension: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
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