Compromise. There’s just no place for it in the Kingdom of God. Therefore, there’s no place for it in the lives of believers. Yet, it’s easy for compromise to sneak in even unnoticed at times. So here’s some examples in my life of how this has occured very recently and what I’ve learned from it, to pass on to you.
Derek and I felt in our hearts that the Lord wanted us to move to a suburb of Newcastle called Mayfield. So we set off in this direction. We were staying with family for over three months while we looked for rentals in the Mayfield area. We had certain requirements as in price, car spaces, number of bedrooms and approval for a dog, that needed to be included in our search. However, we also had preferences such as natural gas, air con, two toilets, outdoor area and so on. Now, this was before the COVID-19 restrictions and there was only a handful of rental properties coming up on the real estate websites that fitted the above description in Mayfield. We looked at a few but they were on the main road and were very old and run down, let alone over the top in price.
Things were getting a bit tight at the family’s house with literal dog fights (there were four dogs living in the house) and so eventually we took this as a sign that it was time to hightail it out of there and so our search became a bit more urgent. We applied and got accepted for a place in a suburb called Waratah that had the 2 car spaces we needed and all the preferences and was only a 2 minute drive from Mayfield. Mayfield was the very next suburb just over the railway track at the end of our street. In fact, Mayfield used to be officially called North Waratah.
The place was only 2 years old, fresh and modern and it was actually a duplex. We’d lived in a villa whilst in Perth and so had gotten used to a smaller space and the sound of neighbours quite close when you’re sitting outside. This duplex wasn’t joined by the garages, it was joined by the internal wall. After a day or two we came to realise that the internal wall hadn’t been adequately soundproofed when it was built. After 3 days, we had spent the entire first weekend listening to the constant drone of the neighbouring tenant’s TV and stereo through the wall. It went all day on the weekend & subsequently then went every night after she returned home from work. Our living room was up against her living room and we couldn’t even hear our TV! (First world dilema, I know :-))
Long story short, after some prayer, we ended up breaking our newly signed 6 month lease, which cost us money to do so (although the Lord gave us favour with the landlord even in this – His grace). After putting in our 14 days notice to terminate the lease, Derek and I asked the Lord to show us what had happened. What had we done wrong, if anything? What was He wanting to teach us in this? It was such an upheaval, we were in for our third move in 4 months.
An hour or two after asking the Lord these questions it became apparent to both of us that the problem was……you guessed it, it wasn’t Mayfield. We had missed the mark. We knew in our hearts all along that He was calling us to Mayfield. We moved into Waratah. (Just so you know, with COVID-19 there were suddenly many more houses in Mayfield up for rent and the Lord quickly provided a house in Mayfield, 2.1kms away on the other side of the railway, right on time and that has everything we needed and wanted and we’re extremely settled and happy here!)
The point is, we compromised. We didn’t want to, we didn’t mean to, it wasn’t intentional, we just missed the mark. How? We were more focused on ‘our house’ than HIS house. Selah. It was in fact, God Himself getting us out of that house. It wasn’t the building and it wasn’t the neighbour, but God Himself – His grace to get us back on track for what He wants.
A fair while back, Derek and I stopped drinking tea, as in black caffinated tea and made the switch over to lemon & ginger tea (which isn’t really tea anyway). One day I may share the reason but that’s not important right now. Suffice to say, it was a God thing. Ever since, whenever I’ve drunk real tea, (which I haven’t for ages) it hasn’t brought me the same joy it used to. (I think I’ve even included my love for tea in previous posts, lol!)
Well, just this very morning I went to make myself a ‘real’ tea. Now, I only had some in the house for my mum when she comes to visit. This morning I just felt like a little bit of ‘kick’ (oooh, I didn’t even realise that ‘kick’ is what I was after until I literally just typed that out right now!) and some comfort (more on that another time).
You know what? I just couldn’t bring myself to drink it. I stood there with it steaming in my cup, cup to lips just to smell it even, and couldn’t drink it. I was having this conversation with God in my head, going “Oh, this is ridiculous. Is it You? Is it me? Is this really such a big deal? I can’t drink it if I don’t have faith, and I feel so guilty?! I’m trying to defy all the sense of false guilt I have over this, by now trying to make myself drink it….”. I stood at the kitchen bench with my hands cupped around the mug on the counter.
“Resident Boss” I heard in my spirit. I recalled Watchman Nee sharing a story about ‘Resident Boss’ as the government of the Holy Spirit within us.
When eventually the man was able to visit Shanghai he told me the story. Using an
expression familiar in Chinese: `Brother Nee’, he said, `Resident Boss wouldn’t let
me have that drink!’ `Very good, brother’, I said. `You always listen to Resident Boss!’
Many of us know that Christ is our life. We believe that the Spirit of God is resident in
us, but this fact has little effect upon our behaviour. The question is, do we know Him as
a living Person, and do we know Him as `Boss’? (Nee, The Normal Christian Life)
And then to my thoughts came a list of things that I had recently started to take up again, just this week. A few chocolates at night time, a glass of wine 2 nights this week (I usually have a glass of wine two or three times in a year!) and I’d bought margarine instead of butter. Now, these things are not a big deal in themselves but the Lord, Resident Boss, was showing me where I had begun to compromise on the good health habits He’d graced me with. This was His story with me, personally. Now I began to see how I was about to let black tea sneak in again.
[Can I just say something a little odd right now in the middle of all this? For the past week I have had Paul Simon’s song ‘Slip Slidin’ Away’playing in my head. I’d listened to it on Spotify whilst driving last week, and was struck by that line “You know, the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip slidin’away”. The tighter we are staying in the will of God towards what He’s asked of us, just one little slip and we can be gradually sliding away. There you go. Resident Boss].
Back to the story. I poured the tea down the sink. And it wasn’t even hard to do so. In fact, I almost did it without consciousness that I was doing it. The Lord’s grace had stepped in. That grace that is the power to say no to sin or temptation The Lord is wanting to keep me in His grace, in the good health habits, in the obedience, in the tight place of ownership that He as Resident Boss has and needs to have in my life. If He can’t have first place and ownership in the little seemingly insignificant things, how can He in the bigger more important things? If he can’t trust me with little, how can He trust me with much?
These are enormous lessons to me. They seem like almost nothing, but they are hugely important.
Don’t compromise folks. Even on the tiniest little thing. A little compromise here, a little there and before we know it we’re right off track. Right off target. Listen to that still small voice. It is His voice. He is caring for you and Shepherding you through the testing of your faith to see if He has a faithful servant who will work with Him for His purpose. He never leaves us, He is there to guide us and encourage us in His paths of Righteousness for His Name’s sake. We belong to Him. He is our Resident Boss. He lives in us. He calls the shots now. We don’t belong to ourselves or anyone else for that matter. We can’t compromise.
Praise God that Jesus never compromised. Jesus never even took the tiniest piece of the bread that Satan offered Him whilst in the wilderness of temptation, though He was very, very hungry. Jesus never did a thing to jeopardise the Life of His Father in Him. He was a man without sin. He had all the temptations that we have and yet never sinned.
What if He had sinned? What if He had given in to one little temptation? What if He’d just chosen His own comfort over the Father’s government, just for one moment? I shudder to think. I really do. By the grace of God, go I. Go we. The grace of God protects and keeps us.
Press on saints, stay the course, hesitate before you do that thing you sense no peace about, take the time to put your flesh, comforts, and preferences aside to wait on and listen to Him. He will tell you. He will make His mind known to you. And if you get it wrong unintentionally, and humble yourself before Him, His grace to correct your course will come. He won’t leave you hanging. But He must be Resident Boss. His church must be His and wholly His. She can’t compromise.
There is a church that compromises. That’s the church that has let the ways of the world into her midst, she is like Israel was in the old testament (who is still lost and suffers for this by the way). That church has let in the values of the spirit of this world ever so subtlely, so quietly, so slowly, so gradually, so that that church hasn’t even noticed. That church can’t even see or recall where she got off track. Like Derek and I moving into the wrong suburb, we didn’t even see what we were doing until we’d done it.
But there is a church that doesn’t compromise. She is the true church. She is the strong warrior Bride of our Lord Jesus Christ. She takes heaven by force (Matthew 11:12). She doesn’t muck around, she’s not playing games, she’s not concerned with the opinions or approval of this world, she is sold out to Jesus. He is her lover, her Lord, her King, Her Resident Boss. He lives in her and she will not be moved.
What church are you in?