Have you ever noticed that the word – compromise – is mostly made up of the word – promise?
Another fun fact: the prefix “com” means with/together/in association.
Preceding compromise is the promise of something.
Adam and Eve had been given Eden by God.
Esau had his inheritance as first born.
Saul had divine favour and support as king.
Compromise results as a departure from the original promise to an alternative promise.
For Adam and Eve, it was the promise to be more like God in their knowledge of good and evil.
For Esau, it was the promise of a bowl of stew that would satisfy his hunger.
For Saul, it was the promise that his sacrifice would be more pleasing to God than his obedience.
On the surface, none of these alternative promises look like a terrible thing. Until you consider the price that was paid for them.
Adam and Eve lost the life God had intended for them in Eden.
Esau lost his inheritance.
Saul lost God’s approval and favour on his life as king.
Not every promise is worth the price tag it comes with. Especially if it means settling for far less than what was rightfully yours.
As believers, we have a ton of promises from God through his written and spoken word. But these promises often require us to wait for their fulfillment. In this period of waiting, we are vulnerable to compromise. Because, let’s be honest, waiting for something we deeply desire to have can get rough.
On the flipside, being familiar with a promise already fulfilled can also leave us open to compromise. When we’re used to the idea of having something or enjoying something, we never stop to think that one bad decision could result in us losing it forever.
There are three root causes of compromise I want to delve into:
The fear of being short-changed by God.
Re: Adam and Eve
At the core of this fear, is a lack of complete trust in God in a particular area of your life. There may be some trust but there could also be some doubt mixed in there. This results in a dangerous cocktail of I’m kind of with God but I’m also kind of not sure He’ll come through for me so I need to have my own back.
Ergo, taking up an alternative promise that gives you the illusion of control over a situation.
Are there aspects of your life where you struggle to fully trust God’s intentions for you or His ability to provide for your needs and desires?
Can you trace back to when this fear first began? Was it something that happened or didn’t happen as expected? What truth of that situation does God want you to now see and understand?
The hunger of now.
Long-term promises like inheritance require a lot of wisdom in stewardship. What works in one season, won’t necessarily work in the next.
This stewardship requires you to balance your present needs with your expectations for the future.
How do you feed today’s hunger without squandering tomorrow’s promise?
The Israelites had the future promise of Canaan as they journeyed through the wilderness. But they also needed their daily supply of manna to keep them going. It didn’t just fall on their plates though. They had to go out each day and collect it as per God’s instructions.
What manna is God providing you with daily to sustain the promises He’s given? What instructions has He given you about how that manna should be consumed?
The fallacy of good intentions.
Saul outrightly disobeyed God with the aim of honouring Him in the process. When put this way, it’s clear there was something off about his plan all along.
Good intentions are inherently not a bad thing. But when we exalt our good intentions above God’s intentions for us in a matter, we’re essentially elevating ourselves above God. Our hearts saying – we know better than You do, God, and so we can do better than You can.
The root of this is pride. It takes humility to acknowledge that we don’t know best and God’s way could actually be better than our own. Especially when we can’t logically see the how at the time.
This pride becomes all the more dangerous because it separates us from God. We can’t attain to/sustain the original promise we have from God without God.
What areas of pride may be resident in your heart that are causing you to steward God’s promises your way instead of His way?
Good stewardship is not an automatic ability that some have and others don’t. We all start from ground zero and have to learn. With intentionality, it’s something we continually grow in and work towards. Mistakes can and will happen. Grace and restoration abounds. When you’re diligent in reminding yourself of what’s at stake, you won’t be as quick to jump onto a fleeting moment at the expense of your eternal destiny.