How to Quit a Life of Compromise

If you think about it, King Solomon never started out to build pagan shrines.

It was his failure to deal with the tiny spiritual cracks in his heart that produced a life of compromise and dissatisfaction.

Photo: Design Pics, via Vivozoom

The backwash from Solomon’s life reminds us how we only kid ourselves when we think we can have a healthy walk with God and still keep our hidden life of compromise on the side.

The Misery of Living in Both Worlds

Many people walk this road of compromise. We love God, but honestly, we also love our secret sins. And yet, how utterly unsatisfying both lives become when we try to live in both worlds!

“No one can live without delight, and that is why a man deprived of spiritual joy goes over to carnal pleasures.” —Thomas Aquinas

Both the spiritual life and our secret life are miserable. That’s because God never created us to live that way.

God wants more for us than the incessant cycle of confession and failure. He wants us to live beyond the futility the world seeks.

I believe it is possible.

Leaving a Life of Compromise

How can we begin to fill the cracks of a divided heart?

  • For starters, we must recognize what we really seek when we choose to compromise is more relational than physical. Even healthy relationships with a spouse, or with your family, or with close friends will never meet your needs. It takes more.
  • It takes a deepening, deliberate relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This means more than your salvation experience. It means making your relationship with the Living God—not just your Bible reading—the priority of your life.
  • The transformation process God desires comes by choosing daily to offer our bodies as “a living and holy sacrifice” (Romans 12:1), by doggedly refusing to follow sin’s urgings (Romans 6:14), and by relying on God’s Spirit for strength (Romans 8:2, 6).

Rainbow from Haas Promenade

Photo: Looking at Jerusalem through a rainbow from Haas Promenade, located on the Hill of Evil Counsel, where Solomon constructed high places for his wives’ foreign gods (1 Kings 11:7-8), courtesy of BiblePlaces.com

We can have the wisdom of Solomon and still have cracks in our hearts. Solomon’s life reveals that a sin tolerated becomes an idol embraced. If we do not seek God as the object of our ultimate delight, we will certainly substitute the pleasures of this world—and eventually sacrifice for them.

Solomon took a lifetime to discover this simple truth (Ecclesiastes 11:9; 12:13).

God has called us to exchange the fleeting pleasure of little sins for something far better and more satisfying—Himself.

Question: What has helped you realize that trying to live in two worlds doesn’t give us the satisfaction we long for?  Please leave a comment.

Adapted from Wayne Stiles, “Unwise Cracks,” Insights (September 2005): 1-2. Copyright © 2005, Insight for Living. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

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  • JFKAR

    “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (and elsewhere)

    • http://www.waynestiles.com/ Wayne Stiles

       Wow, what a great quote. I had never seen that one before. Lewis had such a keen insight into the heart. Thanks for posting this.

  • JWS

    Thank you for the freeing reminder that it truly is our relationship with the Lord that brings us fulfillment in life. Even though I’ve been a believer for more than a decade I’m just recently beginning to embrace the joy of a growing, intimate, relationship with Jesus.
    He’s showing me that alone I can only attempt to counterfeit the Fruit of the Spirit. But it’s the Life He grows in us that creates the real fruit from Him. A friend recently mentioned that Jesus came to set us free from the slavery of constantly trying to do good and avoid evil (a failing task connected to the wrong tree). But Jesus came to restore us to real Life through a growing, thriving, intimate relationship with Him. He calls us His bride. He is our perfect Husband. Of course a perfect Husband desires a deeply personal relationship with His bride. We need that relationship more than anything. We need a life of consuming Life, the Spirit of the Lord. We all want real Life but we can forget the way. We need reminders like this to show us that Life comes from a growing, surrendered relationship with Jesus. I wish I could just choose good and avoid evil but without Life I don’t have that ability in me. A relationship with Him is the only way I can be set free from the consuming tyranny of chasing after the knowledge of good and evil (again, the wrong tree). From Genesis to Revelation the Lord’s desire is the same. He desires to give us Him, to give us Life but we tend, since the garden, to turn our backs on Life instead thinking we can study enough to figure out what’s good and avoid evil without Him.
    Jesus isn’t offering us just salvation with destination heaven. He’s offering so much more here and now. He is offering us a daily, transforming reconnection to Him, the Way, the Truth and the Life. When we have that relationship we can expectantly wait for a certain overwhelming overflow of Him in us as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

    • http://www.waynestiles.com/ Wayne Stiles

      You’re so right, JWS. “Eternal life” speaks to the quality of life as well as to its duration. Jesus’ words, “apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5), have implications for every part of our lives‹ –not just productivity. Thanks for your comment.

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  • Collins

    Just want to express my heartfelt joy on your post. I am blessed and you cant imagine what this mean to me. I’ve been living a life of compromise for a while now. Thanks for this insightful words. We need encouraging words like this in our world today.

    • http://www.waynestiles.com/ Wayne Stiles

      You’re welcome, Collins. I’m thrilled the post encouraged you. You’re right, we really do need to “encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). Thanks for your comment.

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