As I began pondering another new year I asked the Lord if there was something on His heart for us in 2011. I heard only one word – “Compromise”. I tried adding a “No” to the compromise thinking He was telling me this was the year of “No Compromise” but no! Then I thought maybe He was saying He would pour out a spirit of “No Compromise” for 2011 but no! Instead I got the one word – “Compromise”. As I prayed into this Word, God said He isn’t going to keep telling us not to compromise because He has already made His will known to us through His Word and by His Spirit. The problem is we rarely go to God’s Word to discover His standard. With no set moral standard and no parameters by which to live we base our behavior and actions on personal experience, knowledge, and opinion. Then, compromise becomes inevitable and even necessary with no recognized moral absolutes.
I have discovered over the years when God exposes His heart to us we get very uncomfortable knowing change is required. And when He exposes the motives, thoughts and intents of our hearts we can easily take offense or feel the need to defend ourselves. We make “heart” exposure much more difficult than God intends it to be. We need to keep it simple so that when God reveals something, we simply trust Him to renew and transform us by the power of His Spirit and Word. If God says a word for 2011 is “compromise” we simply need to say “Yes, Lord” and seek His directives. There is no need to be offended, attack God, or defend our actions. We just need to listen and do. Unfortunately, we often do not hear God’s best for us in life because the world has taught compromise is the best option because it helps to avoid arguments and keep peace, making life all about cooperation and negotiation. Though compromise brings a semblance of peace, it usually leaves all people dissatisfied since everyone has to give up something, and for Christians, what are we willing to give up in order to keep peace? Very often we compromise the very promises of God in order to get along in the world.
The word “compromise” means to agree or settle a dispute by two or more sides accepting less than they originally wanted. We “accept” less because there is the perception that what is wanted is unattainable. Compromise also means to lessen the value of a person or thing, or undermine and devalue somebody or something by making concessions. For example we compromise our integrity by telling half truths. This understanding gets us right to the heart of compromise and what God is revealing for 2011. We compromise our faith in God and devalue His promises by accepting and promoting half truths about Him. When we do not “see” in the world what the Word clearly promises, we accept less than God’s best and we accept what the world has to offer because we perceive what God has promised is unattainable. When things happen in life which appear contrary to what God says in His Word we compromise His simple truths in an effort to explain why we do not see His will carried out on earth.
Compromise can be further understood by looking at its synonyms: negotiate, make concessions, find middle ground, give and take, bargain, give in, concede, settle, and make a deal. With this understanding can we admit we have compromised the Word of God in our lives? Can we hear more from the Lord in regards to compromise? Honestly there is not room enough here to write all the concessions Christians make in an effort to fit into the world or that churches make in an effort to please people, serve their needs, make them comfortable, and assure they keep coming back. How we spend our time, money, thought life, and effort will quickly bear out the concessions we make in order to have our cake and eat it too. My guess is that most of us compromise in several areas of life or else God wouldn’t have spoken the word “compromise” for 2011. When we admit He is right and stop complicating matters by trying to “explain away” the compromises we make we are well on the way to overcoming the spirit of compromise.
Part of our problem is we try to make the Word of God “work for us” so we can live as we like rather than making our lives work according to the Word! God never compromises! In fact, the word does not exist in the Word! He is perfect so why would perfection ever settle for less? God knows He has the best for us so compromise would go against His character and will. He redeemed us so we would not need to bargain. He doesn’t give in or make deals with us. He does not need to find middle ground with us because He makes a way for us to meet Him where He is at. He dictates what needs to be done but is never a dictator. In other words, He sets forth the commands and conditions by which we live but He does not control or manipulate our actions like a dictator would. We either choose to live fully according to His dictates or we choose to compromise our beliefs, faith, and relationship with Him to do as we please or as seems right in our own eyes. This year God would have us acknowledge the spirit of compromise in our lives, confess and repent for operating in a spirit of compromise, and get on with living true life. Then we will be sold out to Jesus, unwilling to bend in any area of faith, and we will see our families, churches, and nation refreshed and living fully in the promises of God.
As I have been writing this word, I have tried to think of areas in life where compromise is beneficial because the fact is we do compromise, especially with friends, often trying to find middle ground. The more examples of compromise I offered to God to gain His approval, the more He revealed His loathing for compromise, His disapproval of its usage, and His disappointment in our willingness to compromise. He continued to reveal that when we “compromise” in less important things, trying to separate those things from faith in God, we create a habit of compromise. The reality is when we compromise in any area it naturally carries over to compromising our faith in God, and it becomes our norm for both temporal and eternal matters. The better habit is to know the right thing to do and do it.
Here is the bottom line: God said compromise leads to one thing, lukewarm faith! After all, when it comes to faith and God’s Word, when we attempt to meet halfway, find middle ground between heaven and earth, between truth and facts, between religion and relationship, we end up on a fence, constantly teetering one way or the other based on the winds of life. The Bible uses the analogy of temperature. Revelation 3:15-16 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
These are strong words but they are God’s words. This was written to the church of Laodicea where people felt they were solid in their belief in Christ Jesus and confident in their works for Him. However, Holy Spirit had another message revealing they were doing “just enough” and no more. They settled. We might say they compromised. They were not zealous. They were neither on fire for God nor were they frigid toward Him. God would prefer one or the other. He is not pleased when His people know and believe in Him but are not living for Him in every area of life. You see, if our faith in God is real, it is the MOST excellent thing in life and we would treat it as such at all times and in all places. And if we have no faith in God then He would be worthless and we should be earnestly against Him and religion. The point is that indifference is not an option in God’s realm. If God is God then be hot on His trail. If you have another god, go hot after that god but do not remain neutral. God can do more with a heathen than with someone who thinks they are in Christ but compromises His will for them.
Even as I write this I feel the fear of God in my spirit and body as He delivers this message for 2011. Believing and not living in Him will leave us vomited out from the mouth of God. It sickens God when His children are not hot for Him. Just as lukewarm water turns the stomach and provokes a person to vomit, lukewarm faith, compromise, makes God nauseous provoking Him to vomit. It is certainly not God’s desire to vomit people from His presence. If it were, He would not give a warning but He gives the warning that we might heed it and get on fire for Him.
The church in Laodicea was disillusioned, becoming self-satisfied, believing and saying they were rich in every way with no needs but were in reality, indifferent to growing stronger. Whether they felt rich in the world or rich in faith, or both it does not matter. They had drawn the wrong conclusions because they lost the fire for more! Today in the church I suppose we would rarely hear Christians boast of their richness in the world. We probably hear much more of the opposite with complaints about how needy we are and how we never have enough money, time, or resources. But we do seem perfectly satisfied in our level of faith. We are not desperate for more of God, unless that “more” includes provision, healing, and answer to prayer.
Yet God is right there to meet our every need and make us rich in Him! We should desire to be rich in Him not just in what He provides for us. We need to stop compromising, stop settling, stop receiving less than His best. The Spirit of God revealed to the Laodicean church they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. What a shock for them to hear! God’s viewpoint was the complete opposite of how they saw themselves. Can we relate? Do we think we are doing “just fine” with God? Or do we “know” we are not doing fine but “settle” for that as well? What if we are filled with shame, guilt, and regret because we know we are not living in the best God has for us? Isn’t that compromise as well? Have we settled for something less than we want and less than God wants for us because His truth seems unattainable to us? Have we complicated the Word of God in lieu of trying to understand what we cannot see? I said earlier the subject of compromise will cause many to be offended or defend themselves. Do these questions stir something inside causing irritation because we don’t think we compromise? If so, listen carefully to what God is saying to us for 2011!
For now, let Holy Spirit begin and continue to work and expose the contents of our hearts in this area of compromise and stay tuned for more of His revelation in the coming blogs for 2011! We will examine more of the Laodicean church in the next blog to discover the hope and the answer for compromise!
Father God, thank You for Your words of encouragement and for speaking to us today! We are blessed people indeed! We thank you for revealing the spirit of compromise in our lives and we commit to hearing all you have to tell us today! Speak Lord! We are listening and willing to obey! We love you Lord! Amen!