Thursday, January 4, 2024

Resolution—Not Resolutions

“Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” (Daniel 1:12-13 NLT)

What was the real temptation for Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? They had refused the food and wine from King Nebuchadnezzar’s table and had chosen water and vegetables instead. But it wasn’t just a matter of the food. And it wasn’t because they liked only vegetables and water. Rather, they were taking a stand on principle.

The real temptation was this: eating the king’s food was the way to climb the corporate ladder in Babylon. It was like refusing the boss’s invitation to lunch. Why would they say no? For whatever reason, they did. It was important enough for them to take a stand on the matter. They wouldn’t make this compromise. And by doing so, they didn’t advance as quickly as they could have.

In the same way, we can struggle with the temptation to compromise. It might be the temptation to lie on a résumé to get a job or the temptation to embellish ourselves so that people will like us more. Or, it might be the temptation to cut corners on a job to make more money, even though it’s unsafe. It could be the temptation to go a little further with a girlfriend or boyfriend in the hope of gaining their love.

We all face the temptation to compromise.

However, it’s the little things that ultimately lead to the big things. It’s the gray areas that ultimately lead to the black-and-white areas. That’s why we must look at things carefully and ask, “Is this a good or a bad thing for me? Is this a compromise before the Lord?”

When we come to those gray areas of life and wonder whether something is acceptable to God, it’s a good idea to ask ourselves four questions: (1) Does it build me up spiritually? (2) Does it bring me under its power? (3) Do I have an uneasy conscience about it? (4) Could it cause someone to stumble?

Here’s the wrong question to ask: Can I do this and still be a Christian? The Bible says, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT).

Character is not made in a crisis; it is only exhibited. It may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones. Do you have that character? Or, are you compromising in your life as a Christian?

Are you doing what is right, even in the little things? Because if you don’t deal with compromise in the little things, it will lead to the big things. That’s why it’s a good time at the beginning of the year to have some resolution—not a bunch of silly resolutions that you make and can’t keep. 

Resolution is purpose, commitment, and dedication to doing the right thing. Because if you compromise now, you will regret it later.

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