“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.” ~ 1 Cornithians 10:12, NLT
I tend to believe that the majority of us don’t wake up one morning with an intention to sin. Nobody circles a particular date on their calendar in red and thinks, ‘THAT’S the day I’m going to start being disobedient to God!’ I can’t imagine anyone making deliberate future plans to thumb their nose at and walk away from God. It’s never a case of one day you’re obedient, and the next day – BAM!! – you’re not.
It’s a slow fade......
Currently, I’m a part of a Community Bible Study (CBS) held once a week at my church. The study is called ‘The Divided Kingdom and the Minor Prophets.’ Ho, hum....sounds a bit dry and dull, yes? NO WAY! It is anything BUT dry and dull. For the past few weeks, our lessons have focused on the book of 1 Kings, and I’m learning about the various kings who came along after David, and their disobedience towards God.
Today, during our class discussion time, a woman said the following in answer to a question on what she’d learned from the particular lesson about the dangers of being disobedient to God:
‘Small steps of compromise lead to big leaps of sin.’
Wise woman, that one. In other words – it’s a slow fade. And it can happen to the best of us.
“Don’t be so naïve and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else.” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12, The Message
Compromise. We give in a little here, bend a bit there. We start to slack off on beginning our mornings with God in prayer and quiet solitude, choosing to run or exercise instead. We start to cut down on time in God’s Word to watch TV or to lurk around on Facebook. We skip a few Bible studies because we’re behind on housework; skip a few church services on Sundays to go to the beach or to sleep in. Pretty soon, we start to lose sight of what’s right and wrong. Before we know it, God’s voice is far off in the distance, barely discernible to us. We wonder why. How did we wind up here?
It’s a slow fade.
Disobedience. We form a relationship with someone we shouldn’t. We begin to frequent places where we have no business going. We partake of and become entangled with something we know is absolutely off limits to us. We think, ‘nothing will happen, I can handle myself.’ Or, ‘it’s no big deal.’ Oh, but it is, dear ones. Is it ever.
Because one day, we look around and are surprised to find ourselves somewhere we never imagined we'd ever be: so very far from God and
- ashamed to admit
- afraid to admit
- refusing to admit
just how ensnared in and captive to disobedience and sin we've become.
It's a slow fade.......
And take note: our disobedience affects EVERYONE around us. When we choose to disobey (and it IS a choice), we drag
Our loved ones
Our classmates and coworkers
Our church and community
right down with us into the swirling vortex of sin and darkness, pain and devastation. The effects can be both short term and long term. NO ONE escapes unscathed, my friends. Believe me -- I know. In my deep, dark and not so distant past, I've been the one affected by another's disobedience, as well as the disobedient one.
But worst of all – it breaks and grieves the heart of our loving Abba Father.
Not only am I reading and learning about the perils of compromise and the fruit of disobedience in my Community Bible Study class, but sadly – I’m watching it being played out in real life, with a precious child of God, whom I know and care about, as the main character in this dark and twisted saga. They show no remorse. No desire to come clean and repent. Because they don’t believe they’re being disobedient. They don't think they're doing anything wrong. They’ve been deceived.
Satan is the master deceiver. Jesus once referred to him as ‘a liar and the father of lies’ (John 8:44). He can make something or someone that is dangerous look so innocent. Or something that is dark and ugly seem light and beautiful. Or something that is so wrong feel just so right. The old smoke and mirrors trick. He’s very good at this, because well, it’s his gig. He’s been at it for centuries, masquerading as an angel of light, and speaking with a forked tongue.
I’m certain my friend didn’t wake up one day and say to themselves, “You know, I’ve decided I’m going to destroy my family today. I’m going to deceive my loved ones, ruin my reputation, shatter my integrity and break God’s heart.” I believe this precious one began to take small steps of compromise here and there that eventually led to their huge leap into disobedience.
I have to admit -- I feel hurt by what they've done. And what they're continuing to do. I feel angry. I feel betrayed. And very, VERY scared. Scared, because I'm all too aware how easily something like this could happen to anyone. Could happen to me -- again. I am so weak, so easily distracted, and I know how effortlessly I could veer off the narrow road, given the chance. I found myself on my knees today, crying, "Please, Lord -- just keep me hidden beneath Your wings until this danger has passed!!
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” ~ 1 Peter 5:8, NLT
How about you, dear ones? Are there areas of your life in which you find yourself all too willing to compromise? I BEG you not to be blind and deaf to the temptations that surround you. Be careful of who and what you allow into your mind, into your heart, into your life. Don’t be unaware of the opportunities to compromise that the enemy WILL present to you on any given day, hissing in your ear that 'it's no big deal.'
"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come hear to God and He will come near to you. ~ James 4:7-8, NIV
Keep close to Jesus. Run to Him, cling tightly to Him with everything you've got; hide yourself in Him. Immerse yourself in the Word of God every day, to remind you of Who God is (your loving, merciful, faithful, generous, mighty, compassionate, fair and just Father) and who you are (His treasured, honored and beloved child). Keep your eyes open to all He has for you. Keep your ears open to what He says to you. Remain on the alert and be aware of what you’re doing, where you’re headed, the company you keep.
People never crumble in a day....it's a slow fade.