What does it mean for Christians to “compromise” with the world? There is a story in scripture about a king named Jehoshaphat whose compromise was very costly. The Bible calls him a “Godly man” because he “walked in the former ways of his father David.” He actively pursued a relationship with God and 2 Chronicles says he walked in obedience. Jehoshaphat established religious reforms, he was humble, he trusted in God, and he called his people to prayer and fasting. But even though he sought after God, he was, just like the rest of us, in danger of compromise.
Why do we compromise in our Christian walk?
Why does it seem so easy to compromise? Compromise is a good thing, isn’t it? It keeps the peace; it defuses arguments and anger. Why not compromise, if the results are so positive?
Satan doesn’t use head-on attacks when it is so easy to trick us into seeing the potential good at the end of a compromise. He is very subtle, and he is a master at laying out the potential positive results of a compromise. Our ultimate goals may be in perfect alignment with God’s will, but how can we achieve them if we compromise?
Jehoshaphat, a good and Godly king of Judah, decided to hook up with Ahab, the king of Israel, who was a wicked and evil king. Jehoshaphat let his son, Jehoram, marry Ahab’s daughter probably thinking it would be a good thing to align his Godly kingdom with Ahab’s ungodly kingdom and possibly draw Ahab into a relationship with God. I’m sure he thought it was a good idea at the time.
A few years later, Jehoshaphat went to Samaria in the kingdom of Israel and had a good old time with Ahab. Now Ahab convinced Jehoshaphat to join him in a campaign against Ramoth-Gilead, a city that had been captured by Syria. The city had been designated by God as a sanctuary city. God made it clear to both kings that they should not go up against Ramoth-Gilead, but they wouldn’t listen. I’m sure it appealed to Jehoshaphat to recapture the city for the Lord. In his mind, he was doing a good thing for God.
So, Ahab and Jehoshaphat took their armies to fight against the city. It cost Ahab his life and it almost cost Jehoshaphat his life. Well, you can read the whole story in 2 Chronicles chapters 17 through 20. Long story short, Jehoshaphat compromised his commitment to God to follow his own path.
Rosy Pictures and Rationalization
That is how Satan works. He paints the rosy picture for us so that we turn our faces away from God and on to ourselves. We rationalize our beliefs. “Look”, we say, “we are getting married anyway, so why don’t we go ahead a live together? You don’t buy a car without a test drive, do you?” “Now don’t criticize me because I only read the articles in that porn magazine. I don’t pay any attention to nude photographs.” Or one that is very common, “I am in love with this fellow and even though he isn’t a Christian, I’m sure I can lead him to the Lord, given time.”
How Does Compromise Begin?
Compromise and self-deception begin in several ways: wrong relationships, like that one between Jehoshaphat and Ahab. Or hanging with the wrong friends (1 Cor. 15:33) or being un-equally yoked (2 Cor. 6:14).
Compromise begins with weak discipline. Don’t give up reading the Bible and praying every day. (Ephesians 6: 10-18) Compromise and sin always have consequences. It impacts your family, your friends, and your church family. And compromise removes the blessings of God and often brings about His discipline.
Jehoshaphat’s decision to compromise cost Judah lives and resources. It wasn’t worth it. And Jehoshaphat’s son, the one who married Ahab’s daughter Athaliah, grew into a wicked king who was guilty of murder and idolatry.
Saturate yourselves in the Word, top it off with a consistent prayer life, and God will protect you from compromise.