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Day by Day - Dec. 14, 2009

Living Beyond the Grind of Compromise

by Charles R. Swindoll

Psalms 1 

One of the best-loved portions of God's Book is the Psalms. For centuries these songs have comforted, calmed, and consoled the hearts of readers.

The Hebrews' ancient hymnal begins with a song that addresses one of life's most common grinds—compromise. Please understand, I'm not referring to those give-and-take times so necessary for living in harmony with one another. Without that healthy kind of compromise, nations could never find a meeting ground for peaceful coexistence. Furthermore, growing family members would seldom enjoy the freedom involved in giving one another room to be different were it not for the tolerance such compromise encourages.

I'm thinking, rather, of compromising with wrong . . . allowing the slow-moving tentacles of evil to wrap themselves around us, squeezing the joys and rewards of obedience from our lives. It happens so silently, so subtly, we hardly realize it's taking place. Like an enormous oak that has decayed for years from within then suddenly falls, those who permit the eroding grind of compromise can expect an ultimate collapse.

Years ago I recall reading of the construction of a city hall and fire station in a small northern Pennsylvania community. All the citizens were so proud of their new red brick structure—a long-awaited dream come true. Not too many weeks after moving in, however, strange things began to happen. Several doors failed to shut completely and a few windows wouldn't slide open very easily. As time passed, ominous cracks began to appear in the walls. Within a few months, the front door couldn't be locked since the foundation had shifted, and the roof began to leak. By and by, the little building that was once the source of great civic pride had to be condemned. An intense investigation revealed that deep mining blasts several miles away caused underground shock waves which subsequently weakened the earth beneath the building foundation, resulting in its virtual self-destruction.

So it is with compromise in a life. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, one rationalization leads to another, which triggers a series of equally damaging alterations in a life that was once stable, strong, and reliable. That seems to be the concern of the psalmist as he composes his first song, which encourages us to resist even the slightest temptation to compromise our convictions.

Pause today and give yourself time to think deeply. Ask yourself a few probing questions such as:

  • Are areas of my life showing signs of spiritual, ethical, or moral compromise?
  • Does my life resemble the kind of tree described in Psalm 1?
  • Should I put an end to some things that are dragging me down? 

Excerpted from Living Beyond the Daily Grind, copyright © 1988, 1989, 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

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