Dec 22, 2014 1882

By Desmond Ford

decisionsLife does not consist simply of black and white. Gray abounds much more. Issues are rarely between simple right and wrong. More often they are between what is bad, and which is less bad.

In a world twisted and perverted by sin, choosing is not a simple matter for the conscientious. Because values constantly come into conflict in an unending series of life situations, the Christian is never relieved from the “strain” of faith: the necessity of constantly throwing oneself afresh upon the guiding Spirit of God. Amid life’s bewildering cir- cumstances faith ever looks beyond. self to God; the Source of wisdom and strength, for each moment’s new decision.

Christians will find mere rules quite inadequate. Rules must change with situations, though nt:ver principles. Principles never change. The strategies of war may dictate to a Christian politician necessary divergence from some rules, but woe to the politician who forsakes principles. So in the wider, more mundane, hemisphere of the rest of life. Only the prayerful, studious Christian will move wisely most of the time, even in the wider arena of compromise.

Yes, compromise is often inevitable. Do you question that? What would you do if you saw your family swept from the ship’s deck by an unexpected giant wave, and knew that as a non-swimmer to jump overboard would be to suicide? And even if you did jump, which member of the family would you rescue first? The others you did not choose would surely be lost. If like Mark Twain and Sir Walter Scott you found yourself threatened with bankruptcy, a fate only to be avoided by suicidal toil, which would you choose?

It is clear to all of us that unless we have priorities, decisions are impossible. The starving Jew who chased a pig in the desert in order to live and not die, was surely pleasing to his Maker. Continuing to live on, though ritually unclean, is surely better than dying ceremonially undefiled!

Does the Christian view the practice of compromise with serene, untroubled regard? Never! Can a Christian avoid compromise altogether? Never! Must a Christian compromise with his resolve to do his best whatever the situation? The answer is the same. As change and constancy both permeate our environment, so adaptation, and yet unyielding loyalty to principle, characterize every Christian’s life-style.

Ours is a very complex world, and the anguished cry of Paul in Romans 7:14-25 is uttered by all believers on their way to glory, and continually so. “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?”

We wish the necessity for adaptation, and apparent compromise of rules, did not exist. But it does. Instead of despairing over such necessity, let us see in it a challenge to a closer walk with God. Knowing that the gospel has reconciled us to God, and that the name of Jesus our Representative gives profound influence to our prayers, let us boldly pray for wisdom to see, and power to do, the right-whether functioning amid zephyrs or tornados, whether in light or in darkness. One day soon all the grays and all the blacks will alike be gone – morally as well as physically – and we will walk together in rainbow hours of everlasting day.

– Des Ford. Rom 8:27–32 (Adapted from “Compromise – Coming Ready or Not!”)

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