The Peril of Prayerlessness

By Greg Laurie
Senior Pastor
Harvest Christian Fellowship
Riverside, Ca

"If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking." (James 1:5)

The Bible's first recorded prayer of Jacob's is found in Genesis 32:9–16. Up to this point, seven chapters of Genesis have been devoted to Jacob's life, with no mention of prayer on his part.

It makes me wonder if Jacob had ever prayed up to this point. It is possible, but the Bible doesn't specifically mention it. It may have been Jacob's very lack of prayer and lack of dependence on God that made him feel as though he had to manipulate his circumstances.

It was commendable that Jacob was reaching out to God, and there are even some good things about his prayer. He acknowledged the God of Abraham and Isaac as the true God. He confessed his own unworthiness. He brought his petition to the Lord.

But it would have been better if he had said, "Lord, what should I do now?" Instead, he prayed and made his plans. In other words, he decided what he was going to do and then asked God to bless it.

Is that not like us? We make our plan and then ask God to bless it. But that is not really praying about a matter. Instead, we should pray along the lines of, "Lord, give me wisdom from your Word and from godly people who will guide me scripturally. Help me do the right thing."

But Jacob did not do that. He wanted what was right, but he went about it in the wrong way.

God helps those who can't help themselves. This is what Jacob needed to realize. Let's learn to seek out God's will rather than bypass it.



To dear viewers of this blog:

You may have noticed that most of the entries of this blog that I shared and posted are sourced from known pastors, preachers, writers, and authors. Most of them published their works online and shared freely via email list subscription.

There are times when I can't be online, so in order to compensate for such conditions, I thought of subscribing to their email list and directly post their daily messages into a blog through email blogging.

I tried it, and it worked. Although there is one thing I disliked a little about. The advertisement banners and promotional graphics that accompany the email messages is not filtered out - WYSIWYG.

The blog's name is "Devotionals". It is added at the bottom of the list in My Other Blogs.


You Can Handle It

By Timothy Jackson, Jr.
The Daily Encourager - InJesus.com

When a mother is preparing to feed her baby, she always tests the temperature of the milk before giving it to the baby. She may place a drop or two on her hand, she may feel the bottle itself, or even taste the milk herself. The mother simply wants to ensure that the bottle is just right for her baby. When the baby receives the bottle, the Parent knows that he or she can handle it.

Many times, we find ourselves in places in life that seem unbearable. We often question whether we will be able to stand the test of time. We wonder if we will be able to handle the weight of the situation. We find ourselves in the very situations we never imagined ourselves being in. The situations that we looked at from afar and said, "I cannot handle that."

Many of us are dealing with situations that seem too hot too handle and we feel like throwing in the towel and giving up all together. However, EVERY trial and tribulation is been tested by the Father before it is allowed to enter our lives. We must know and understand that God has not forgotten about us and He knows what we can bear better than ourselves. When we feel we can't go on, God knows and we must believe that we can handle it.

"…because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid..." (Hebrews 13:5-6)

"No trial has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tested beyond what you can bear. But when you are tested, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (I Corinthians 10:13)


The Awesome Reality Of God’s Love

By Dan Elliott
Christian Educators Association Intl. (CEAI)

[1 Peter 2:21-25] This suffering is all part of what God has called you to. Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in his steps. He never sinned, and he never deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted. When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds! Once you were wandering like lost sheep. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.

Can you imagine it? All the Scriptures record that Jesus went through-- and without sin no less-- and yet He did not lose His temper and even utter an angry word without it being the very purpose of God to do so (i.e. with the money changers in the temple etc.). He never said hurtful things in retaliation. He always spoke exact truth that convicted His hearers of their sin.

Because of His sinlessness, He was willing to bear in His own suffering all your sin, my sin, and everyone else's, too. It is hard for me to image how wonderful God's love is for us to do this. And, according to verse 24, there was purpose to all this. It was not just to be nice and loving. It was done "so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right!" the Apostle Peter tells us.

Beyond this, the wounds of Christ had purpose as well-- they healed us. It is as though each thing that you or I need healing from was transferred to Christ's body instead.The gravest, of course was our 'sin-sickness.' And that was what killed Christ-- not the torture. The sheer weight of the sin of all mankind on His sinless soul drove Him to lay His life down--only to pick it up again in three days as He prophesied.

How can we sit through Easter season after Easter season and not become absolutely overwhelmed with this truth?

To wrap all this up, Peter reminds us that we have a shepherd who guides us, and guards our very souls. What joy-- inexpressible. Rejoice in that today no matter what else you must face!

". . .lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other's faults because of your love. Always keep yourselves united with the Holy Spirit and bind yourselves together with peace" (Eph. 4:1-3)


Seeking Deep Conversion

An excerpt from Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer
By Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M.
Ignatius Insight

If someone interested in trivia was to ask me to name the ten historical persons who have had the greatest impact on my life (aside, of course, from the Lord and his Mother), my list would include Saints Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, together with John Henry Newman and Hans Urs von Balthasar. To determine the other four might take a bit more pondering, but among them would surely be the man with whom we shall begin our reflections: Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.

This doctor of the Church, a man of towering talent, brilliant mind and golden eloquence, traveled about Europe at the behest of the pope as a highly gifted troubleshooter. But more important than his natural gifts was his sanctity. At about the age of twenty he entered the Cistercian order, bringing thirty other men along with him. Most of us entering a religious community bring no one but ourselves. The monks recognized the youngster early on as a highly unusual newcomer and before long elected him as abbot. Bernard united among his many talents fearlessness and tenderness, a rare combination. The most touching funeral homily I have ever read or heard was the one he delivered at the death of his blood brother. The saint was a man of profoundly deep prayer and love for God–which, of course, translated, as it always does, into a genuine love for the people in his life.

A fine biographer of Bernard details for about six hundred pages the drift of this paragraph, but we will get to our immediate point without further ado.

The young abbot was speaking to his community one day, and he made a remark that shocked me on my first reading of it. "There are more people converted from mortal sin to grace, than there are religious converted from good to better." Over the years the more I have experienced of life and thought about this statement the more I have been convinced of its truth. Yet one may ask, what is so shocking about it?

Before responding to this question, it may be helpful to unpack the implications of this plain fact. What Bernard said of religious unfortunately is true in all states of life: bishops, priests, married men and women. Routine daily experience bears it out. Like any competent speaker, the saint wanted to be clear and direct, and so he spoke of the men in front of him. Yet we may wonder: what is shocking about this prosaic but seldom discussed truth?

Putting the saint's observation in simple contemporary terms may help. Bernard was saying that there are more men who give up serious alienation from God, mortal sin, than there are people who give up small wrongs, willed venial sins. And there are even fewer who grow into heroic virtue and live as saints live. If we are not saddened by this realization, we ought to be. We need to notice the title of this book: Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer. The twice repeated adjective is important. Seldom explained, it is what we are about here.

Yet a bit more unpacking is needed. A large part of the sadness is the expectation that anyone who basically loves another (real sacrificing love, not mere attraction) in important matters (for example, a husband loving his wife), would naturally go on to love her in smaller ones. I would assume that he would stop being grouchy and abrupt and harsh, that he would be at pains to be kind and gentle, patient and forgiving. I would assume the same in her behavior toward him.

A step further: We would suppose that a person who realistically and fundamentally loves God would be at pains to avoid all smaller offenses against him: gossiping, laziness, overeating, as well as the venial sins mentioned in our previous paragraph–and myriads of other minor wrongs. A third step of unpacking: Most of us would like to think that this person would go on to prove his love further even to the point of total self-giving, even under the duress, hardships and sacrifices entailed in persevering in heroic holiness. But everyone knows that such is unhappily a rare occurrence in the human family. Something is amiss–and on a large scale. Yes, if everything were normal in society, deep conversion would be common, and life would be incomparably happier for everyone. Much more about that as we proceed in our task.

What Is Moral Conversion?

To a goodly number of people the idea of moral conversion is heavily negative, even threatening. It suggests giving up fun things, making sacrifices, cutting down and cutting out, getting rid of numerous selfishnesses. This reaction is understandable, but it is only the smaller aspect of a larger and liberating truth.

An accurate synonym for conversion, as we are using the word here, would be transformation. Put simply, conversion is a basic and marked improvement on the willing level of the human person. Even more pointedly, it is a fundamental change in our willed activities from bad to good, from good to better, and from better to best. Anyone who is fully alive will find this a stimulating set of ideas. We can put the matter in still another way. Conversion is a change from vice to virtue: from deceit and lying to honesty and truth ... gluttony to temperance ... vanity to humility ... lust to love ... avarice to generosity ... rage to patience ... laziness to zeal ... ugliness to beauty.

From the point of view of attention to and intimacy with God, supreme Beauty, supreme Delight, conversion includes a change from little or no prayer to a determined practice of christic meditation leading eventually to contemplative intimacy, "pondering the word day and night", leading to a sublime "gazing on the beauty of the Lord" with all its varying depths and intensities (Ps 1:1-2; 27:4).

In all of secular literature there is nothing that approaches the literary excellence and the touching tenderness of the parable of the prodigal son, a matchless portrayal of conversion and forgiveness. If the reader notices and ponders the small details of this masterpiece, he finds the divine handwriting throughout the narrative. One verse may exemplify what we mean by this high praise. The egocentric son, having wasted half of his father's fortune with prostitutes, finally comes to his senses, renounces his sins and decides to return to his father. We are then struck with the extraordinary welcome he receives: "While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly" (Lk 15:20 JB). Not a single word of reproach–the sinner had already repented. Music, dancing and feasting follow. This scene with its touching tenderness and complete forgiveness is nothing short of divine. The son has been restored to life. He has been transformed, converted and healed. This passage from ugly egocentrism to divinized altruism is a literary and theological gem profoundly instructive for each of us.

Our task in these pages is to reflect upon and absorb what divine revelation has to say about this fundamental conversion and its more profound depths: how can our lives be completely transformed from ugliness to beauty and personal fulfillment?

Human Excellences

Normal people instinctively seek to excel at least in small ways. Little boys skipping stones at a lake shore will spontaneously shout, if anyone is noticing, "Look, I can make a stone skip more times than he can." We all enjoy winning at a game of cards or sports-or even finishing a crossword puzzle completely.

There are two kinds of human excellence, the first of which is on the level of natural talents, gifts, accomplishments. These occur in many areas and to differing degrees: intelligence, scholarship, literature, music, art, sports. The second and higher type lies on the level of personal goodness, integrity, virtue, sanctity. Here we find the beauties of selfless love, humility, honesty, patience, chastity, fidelity, generosity.

It is immediately obvious that someone can be eminent in the first area of talents and accomplishments and yet a moral wretch in the second. There are the few who excel on both levels: Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila. It should be obvious to a consistent theist that to be a saint is immeasurably more important than to be a world class scholar, violinist or an olympic gold medalist. In these pages we are concerned with conversion through all the degrees of growth in the virtues and prayer depth that lead up to the transformation of the human person as a person, from one beauty to another still more lofty (2 Cor 3: 18).

Kinds of Conversion

Hence we are not here concerned chiefly with changing from atheism to theism or from one religion to another -absolutely basic as these are. What we directly envision are moral and spiritual developments for the better: giving up mortal and venial sins, loving and serving God and our neighbors more and more perfectly, growing in a deepening prayer intimacy with the indwelling Trinity.

There are several ways in which moral conversions can occur. We find in the history of the Church sudden and profoundly powerful experiences of God that instantaneously change a person for the better. Unexpectedly, rapidly, these experiences can convince an individual of the truth of divine revelation together with a powerful desire to live it out. There was Saint Paul on the road to Damascus and Saint Augustine in the garden. Closer to our own day André Frossard, an atheist, while in a church, received in an instant a powerful light convincing him of the truth of Catholicism. He later wrote that what he learned in that one moment about the Church and her teaching would fill ten volumes.

Then there are conversions that happen rapidly, even if not in an instant. I think of the teenage girl in the atheistic Soviet Union who somehow came into the possession of the Gospel of Luke, read it, and then said, "I fell in love with Him" (Jesus). Many of us know of the philosopher Edith Stein who read the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Jesus (Teresa of Avila) in the course of one evening, put the book down and declared: "This is the truth." A keen minded intellectual was immediately convinced that only God through his Church could produce so magnificent a woman. I myself knew firsthand of a young man who, while a university student on a secular campus, after listening to one homily, then and there decided to become a Catholic. Now in this last case it is possible that considerable thought had preceded this decision. But it seemed from the firsthand account that his decision was triggered by evidence he found absolutely convincing on the spot.

More commonly the path to truth and moral goodness is gradual. Deepening insight, earnest study, continuing moral growth combine with divine grace to open new vistas to the sincere inquirer. Thousands each year attend parish instruction classes especially suited to their needs and desires. But especially fascinating are the accounts of searching and finding that intellectual giants have left us. John Henry Newman and G. K. Chesterton, each in his own unique way, have favored posterity with eloquent and penetrating descriptions of their long and arduous searching through studies of Scripture, history, philosophy and theology-as well as enemies of the Church. One might think that the latter, the foes of Catholicism, would have dissuaded these brilliant minds from further investigations. On the contrary, the typical shallowness of their attacks and often mutually contradictory objections all the more convinced these two Englishmen that indeed they were on the right track. And neither man later regretted for a moment the decision he finally made.

Joseph Pearce, in his book Literary Converts, narrates captivating account of how keen and honest minds find ultimate truth. In addition to Newman and Chesterton, we may suggest a few of the many prominent intellectuals who in our modern period have entered the Church from Britain alone: Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, Muriel Spark, Dorothy Sayers, Ronald Knox, Edith Sitwell, Christopher Dawson, Maurice Baring, Arnold Lunn, Malcolm Muggeridge. In these examples and others like them among ordinary people, we should note that the conversions of which we speak include the serious intent to embrace the world's most demanding and lofty moral code. These men and women were by no means looking for an easier and lax morality acceptable to the worldly world. That would be regression, not improvement.

A Word about Motivation

What prompts people to move from mediocrity (or worse) toward a radical reversal to the morally good and the best? Supposing, of course, the illuminating grace of God (available to anyone who really and honestly wants it), evidence indicates that there are almost numberless reasons why serious persons move toward the Church Jesus founded. He surely is the most powerful of them all. Despite the faults of individual members who fail to live up to what they profess, thoughtful people recognize that the only fair way to judge any institution is according to its principles and the example of those who live in accord with them. That simple fact points to the sheer goodness and beauty of the saints, those who live heroically well what Catholicism is and teaches. Where else can we find women like Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, Thérèse of Lisieux and Elizabeth Ann Seton, or men to compare with Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Francis Xavier and Francis of Assisi, John of the Cross, Thomas More and John Vianney? Only truth can produce these heroes and heroines with their burning love, radiant chastity, overflowing generosity, exquisite patience and fortitude, all that is lofty and noble. They are prime illustrations of the evidential power of beauty. We have pointed out elsewhere and at length that science and theology now converge in their agreement that beauty is the best pointer to truth-whether the matter be an equation of physics, a given lifestyle or a doctrine in theology. (See EPB, especially Chapter 6).

A third motive prompting conversion for many lies in the simple facts of history. Jesus founded only one Church and to her alone he committed his authority and promises: "As the Father has sent me, so I send you ... He who hears you, hears me; he who rejects you, rejects me ... I am with you all days even to the end of time" (Jn 20:2 1; Lk 10: 16; Mt 28:20). This is bedrock evidence convincingly rooted in Sacred Scripture and the twenty centuries following Jesus' birth.

Another dimension of history is the fourth reason for many conversions. Jesus' Church teaches everything that he taught with no omissions or alterations to suit the moods of differing times and places. No cafeteria picking and choosing. Unfortunately all groups who through the centuries have left this ecclesia, while they retain some doctrines and moral precepts, have left others aside. People like Newman who study ecclesiastical history are aware of this symphony of beauty. They are struck with the wholeness, the unity and the inner radiance of divine revelation as it is preserved in the magisterial office established by Jesus himself Honest intellectuals seem especially attracted to the coherence, completeness and consistency of this otherworldly phenomenon.

We will content ourselves with one further example of a motivation that underlies many conversions: the shortness of life and the endless duration of eternity, along with the momentous implications of the eternal enthrallment of heaven or the eternal disaster of hell. Jesus put it perfectly: "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?" (Mt 16:2,6). As sensible people grow older, they see more and more clearly that alienation from God together with the tinsel of worldliness is futility and frustration in this life, and, unless there is repentance, calamity in the next. They are then more inclined to do something about it.

Yet, in my work over several decades, I have on occasion had the happiness to deal in spiritual direction with teenagers and young adults in their twenties who have responded generously and beautifully to divine grace. They have been touched by the Lord and have said a youthful and enthusiastic Yes. Imitating young saints like Agatha, Maria Goretti and Aloysius, these young people come to see what their elders often fail to grasp. They are doubly blessed.

Since we vary a great deal in the depths or shallowness of determination with which we direct our lives and make our commitments and decisions, we turn our attention at this point to the basic and pervasive condition of growth in personal excellence, a deepening moral and prayerful conversion, all the way from the dawn of reason to our final breath.

[This excerpt is from chapter one, "Getting A Feel", of Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer.]


The One-armed Judo Fighter

Excerpt from Planting Seeds of Greatness
By Robert A. Schuller

With God as our Instructor, even our weakness becomes an advantage.

You probably know the rest of this sentence: Your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness, right? Well let's take it the other way around. If that's the case, your greatest weakness is also your greatest strength. If you look at where you are weak, you can know from that position you have incredible opportunities.

There is a story of a young man who didn't have a left arm. This young man wanted to do something athletic so he decided he was going to learn judo. He went to a judo studio and he met the Sensei and he started training. The instructor said, "I want you to learn this particular move. So he taught him the move. The young man practiced that one judo move every single day. That's all he would practice. He did that week after week. Finally after several months of coming in every day, practicing this one judo move he asked the Sensei, "Why do you have me practice this one move over and over again? How can I ever learn judo and be good in judo if I only know this one move? Sensei replied, "You need only one move. You can do anything with this one move." The next month his Sensei took him to a tournament and in this tournament he fought for awhile and he did quite well and he actually pinned his opponent and won his first match. The second one was a little more difficult but as it went along he finally did his one move again and he pinned his next opponent. In the finals he had his opportunity to use his one move and he won the tournament. On the way home he talked to his instructor and he said, "How is it that I was able to win this tournament with only one move?" Sensei replied, "Two reasons: the move I taught you is the hardest move to learn in judo and secondly, the only counter to that move is to grab the left arm."

Your greatest weakness is an opportunity for God to come in and give you the greatest strength you ever could imagine.

The Bible tells us that whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant. And then the greatest among you will be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

So the biblical perception of greatness is to be able to serve, to be able to give something back, to be able to do something for others, to be able to express love.

Yesterday, while I was watching the much awaited deciding rematch of our very own Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao against the very formidable Mexican technical fighter Juan Manuel Marquez, I remembered this story of the one-armed judo fighter.

At some point in the fight, Manny's one eye was unable to see clearly because of the blood that got into it as a result of an accidental head butt. This gave the opponent an additional big advantage, yet Manny was able to adjust to the condition and managed to win the fight.


The Spiritual Test

By Dr. Michael Youssef
Leading The Way

We can all remember our school days when we were faced with exams. We spent all day in school-and still we panicked when it came to test time. Why? Perhaps it's because our time in the classroom was only one part of the learning process. The other part was time at home engaging with the material through homework, worksheets, and flashcards-all designed to prepare us for exams and to make sure we had a grasp of the material and were headed in the right direction. The exam brought panic because it was the culmination of all of our hard work and the measure of our direction and mastery of the material.

These exams and tests were for our benefit. They measured our growth, highlighted our strengths and weaknesses, and guided us to the paths we should take. The same is true of our spiritual lives. We face tests and exams on a spiritual level, but they count for greater consequences because the results of these tests are indicators of our eternal future.

We must examine ourselves with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and always be ready to be tested. Always being ready for exams is foundational to a positive life in Christ. Throughout 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul wrote about all that God taught him and what gave him power to live positively in Christ in the midst of fear, trepidation, imprisonment, and flogging. In his conclusion to this letter he says, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!" (2 Corinthians 13:5, NASB).

The Corinthians of old fell into the trap that some of our modern educators have fallen into today. If students are not keeping up and succeeding in school, some believe that the standards must be too high-so they lower the standards. The problem is that lowering the standards and changing the curriculum doesn't insist on accountability.

Worse than the education system is evidence that this is happening in the churches of Jesus Christ, too. People don't want to believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven and eternal life. Some churches are saying, Let's lower the standards. Let's stop talking about this particular truth. We'll water down the truth and not talk about the central truth of Christianity. Instead, we'll talk about relationships and good communication. We don't want to offend people because they are the most important part of the church.

However, the Apostle Paul would tell us that this type of compromise will only lead us in the wrong direction. This type of thinking causes frustration and disappointment. Paul is telling us that to have the peace and assurance of our salvation, believe the Word of God. Examine yourself and find out if you are in the faith and living in the truth-or if you are not.

God is not going to change His Gospel to make it palatable for people who don't like it. He is sovereign, and we need to accommodate Him; He doesn't have to accommodate us.

King David-a man after God's heart-cried out to God saying, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV).

When we refuse to examine ourselves on a regular basis we are taking God's grace and salvation for granted. But don't miss the fabulous news: In this test that the Bible talks about, we can be always a success. Even those who fail the test can succeed. If you examine yourself on a daily basis and find that you are in the faith, then you will be overjoyed by His grace and mercy and will give God the glory. But if you examine yourself and find that you have moved away from the truth, then God has given you an engraved invitation to repent and to return to the truth.

God promised in His Word to receive anyone who turns to Him. The moment you come face to face with the reality that you have departed from the faith by sinning gravely and you repent, God in His grace and mercy receives you. He embraces you. He forgives you. He restores you. You are, again, overjoyed by His grace and mercy and give God the glory. Either way, God is glorified. Examine yourself.

Excerpted from My Journal, a monthly devotional magazine from Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.


Steering Clear of Compromise

By Charles F. Stanley
Intouch Ministries

As he took a sip of his first beer, the young man thought, “I hope I end up an alcoholic.”

Sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn’t it? No one starts out intending to be an alcoholic or a drug addict, unable to cope with life unless he or she is intoxicated. It just happens—one little step at a time.

Accommodating Sin

Now, you might not be struggling with alcoholism. But maybe there’s another area of your life in which you’ve been less obedient lately. Maybe not a big sin, because we seldom start with serious sins. Instead, compromise happens little by little. The slope to sinful patterns is gradual and smooth.

Consider a woman who purchased a dress to wear one time to a formal dinner. She reasoned that God would want her to look her best. But her finances were tight, so she returned the dress the next day. No problem. No complications. Instead, a lot of compliments. The next time she needed a dress for a special occasion, she didn’t struggle over what to do. Each time got easier. Eventually, it didn’t bother her at all.

Then there was the college student who needed an original idea for his term paper. He realized that if he plagiarizes a little on it, he would sound more intelligent. Writing the paper would take less time too. He was sure God wouldn't want him to hand his paper in late. So he cheated—just a little at first. No hassles. Good grade. The next time it wasn’t such a big deal. Eventually, he even purchased entire papers online to turn in as his own.

None of these people wanted to fall away from God’s best for their lives. In fact, they were trying to seize the things they thought would bring His best. But good people fall hard when they give up what they know is right.

I’m sure if you had asked Solomon at the beginning of his reign if he would ever consider worshipping an idol, he would have passionately replied, “Never!” But his temptation didn’t come at him head on. He never expected his wives to lead him astray. What started as admiring the beauty of foreign women ended up as the worship of false gods (1 Kings 11:5 & 8). We are no more immune to the consequences of compromise than Solomon.


What’s the best way to protect yourself against the temptation to compromise? Develop an accountability relationship with someone you respect and trust. As long as Satan can keep you isolated, he has a better chance of getting to your thoughts. Lonely, isolated people are prime targets for his schemes. Busy workaholics are equally vulnerable.

The last thing Satan wants is for us to spend time together, revealing our weak points and praying for each other. That’s why it’s so important for me and you to find someone (of the same gender) we can get real with, drop our pretenses with, and allow God to work through.

Renewing Our Minds

Since compromise can be born in a single thought, we cannot take lightly the command to “renew our minds.” We must make a special effort to protect ourselves from Satan’s attacks. Personal Bible study, corporate worship, or any opportunity you have to fill your mind with the truth is something you must be engaged in regularly. The mind will be either fertile ground for the truth or vulnerable territory for the lies of Satan.

Opening God’s Word once on Sunday morning isn’t enough to equip you to fight Satan’s attacks the rest of the week. But that’s what he wants you to believe. Don’t fall for his lies. Study and equip yourself for the battle of a lifetime.


Finally, I suggest you journal about the areas of your life in which you are tempted to compromise. I have a friend who began writing things down on paper many years ago. He found great insight and comfort as he looked back over the years of written pages that chronicled his life’s story. You don’t have to worry about someone thinking you’re weird or you don’t have the right answers. You can write from your heart, turn over your written thoughts to the One who loves you and gave Himself for you, and then profit from what He can teach you.

No formula can guarantee you’ll never fall prey to compromise. But take these simple steps towards safeguarding yourself, and you’ll be one step ahead of Satan’s plan to sabotage your intimate walk with God.

Adapted from Charles Stanley’s Handbook for Christian Living, 1996. pp. 66-68.