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.