Faith, Revelation Series, Trusting God

Revelation (Series): Compromise—Answering God’s Prompting

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I didn’t set out to write a series based on Revelation 2-3. As I began reading the book of Revelation during my quiet times, I wanted to find truths written to the churches that apply for my life. What came from that desire to find one thing in each letter . . . is this series.

The churches to whom John wrote dealt with many of the same issues we face in an increasingly godless culture. Just as the early churches made choices about whether they would live for Jesus or themselves, so too, do we. 

We have the gift of being able to look at back at their strengths and weaknesses and learn from them.

This isn’t an in-depth theological rendering of these letters. Rather, each post reflects what God has taught me through studying both the letters and the churches. As we walk through Revelation two and three over the next seven weeks, I hope you’ll be encouraged and share your thoughts here! Past posts can be found here: Revelation Series 

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As the grocery clerk rang up my purchases, she shared about how a loved one had recently died from something she too should have died from. As I listened to her words, I heard the pain, the guilt, the confusion of why she was left to live while her loved one died.

The Spirit pressed hard on my heart, encouraging me to share about Jesus with her. I had prayed for this gift of opportunity . . . and I faltered.

I opened my mouth. I closed it. I told her I would pray for her, and wheeled my cart out the door. I made the short drive home, all the while beating myself up for not answering the prompting God had given me.

The previous Sunday, our pastor challenged all of us to pray for an opportunity to share His good news with someone.

I prayed.

God answered.

I compromised and took the easy way out and didn’t share.

Twenty some years later, and I still regret that missed opportunity.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have faith in the Lord. I did.

I still do.

It was that I compromised. It was easier in my thoughts to stay silent.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times to remain quiet.

But, when God prompts, and swings wide the door, a person should walk through in obedience.

In Revelation 2:12-17, Jesus addresses the church at Pergamum. He acknowledges the difficulty of the culture in which they lived. He called their city the throne of Satan, because idol worship and sexual immorality was the accepted, expected norm. They were a city of learning, but also of extreme darkness.

Jesus praised this church for holding to their faith in Him in spite of the city where they lived. 

He also rebuked them. Because some people in their church exalted false teachings. Others compromised and lived out some of those teachings.

Theirs was a culture similar to our own. Sexual immorality is rampant. Our moral foundation has shifted and cracked as people indulge in and applaud the behaviors that ultimately shatter the human heart.

“Leaders” often tell us there is no absolute truth. Too many Christians hold to this. There are all kinds of teachings about God and what His word supposedly says.

Many church-going people don’t open their Bibles during the week. They have no idea of how society’s “truth” lines up with God’s truth.

Even those of us who read the Bible regularly must guard our hearts. God gives us grace in many of the choices we make. Survey any church and you’ll find a vast array of opinions on what to drink, what to watch, what to listen to, etc.

God offers grace in choices we make. We aren’t to judge, but we must be careful to not be too tolerant of things the Bible speaks clearly about.

Jesus is all about our hearts . . . are our hearts desiring relationship with Him?

If not, we need to repent and pray and seek Him, seek His heart and His wisdom in the decisions we make.

Jesus praised the people of Pergamum for clinging to their faith in the face of persecution. One of their members, Antipas, was martyred. He was faithful. He probably shared his faith with others, and that’s what got him killed.

My form of compromise is often more cloaked. I’m pretty good at living out the more obvious tenets of God’s word. It’s in the hidden things where I’m tempted to compromise.

Like staying silent when God gives a perfect opportunity to share about Him.

Like making a “small” decision of compromise because it’s more comfortable and allows me to remain anonymous.

Compromise is compromise. The people of Pergamum had faith, but they also compromised in some blatant ways.

Whether we choose to compromise in the choices we make that others see, or in the choices that only God sees . . . God still sees

The Lord wants us to live out our faith unafraid. To not be ashamed of His name. To share with others the fact that He loves them. No matter what they’ve done.

Each choice we make leads us closer to Jesus or further from Him. May we each live lives of uncompromising faith.

What about you? When have you chosen integrity over compromise? Encourage us, share one time when you shared about Jesus with someone and they truly listened.

Click to Tweet: “Leaders” often tell us there is no absolute truth. Too many Christians hold to this.

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee, and Holley Gerth

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28 thoughts on “Revelation (Series): Compromise—Answering God’s Prompting”

  1. Jeanne,
    It is so easy to back down from sharing what hearts need to hear. Like you I have compromised on many occasions, but like you said, when God swings the door open we need to dare to step through it. I suppose sharing with my ex father in law was the bravest step I took. I do take comfort in knowing that when he passed away, he was a believer. Perhaps I had planted the seeds and God continued watering them?? At least i can live with no regrets…Great series and post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    1. Bev, I am learning to walk through those doors God swings open. What a gift that God allowed you to share with your ex-father-in-law. And that he became a believer. We continue to pray for family members, and share when God gives opportunity. The older I get, the more insistent that prompting is to be intentional about loving like Jesus does and speaking truth to those we love most.

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  2. I love that you are tackling Revelation and making it applicable. And Jeanne, I’ve been there too where God opened a door and I didn’t speak up.
    These are difficult times. “We aren’t to judge, but we must be careful to not be too tolerant of things the Bible speaks clearly about.” So much truth here. Where do we draw the line?

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    1. Thank you, Christy. Truly, I share these posts with a bit of fear, hoping I’m conveying truth (Truth) accurately. 🙂 I’m glad I’m not the only one who has not walked through those open doors. I am guessing we’ve both learned through those missed opportunities.

      Where do we draw the line indeed? It seems like if there is an issue that directly opposes God’s word, we need to hold God’s word as the standard. If there is something that is crucial in how the gospel is being conveyed and it’s inaccurate? That’s crucial. If it’s not a primary facet of the gospel, sometimes the are the things that we let God work in individual hearts. What are your thoughts to your question? I’d love to hear them!

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  3. i falter, i compromise, too. the Spirit does His work and I confess.

    usually.

    only by His grace and power can we live the kind of life that brings Him glory and points others to His love.

    praise God He gives that to us in abundance. now all we have to do is live it out …

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    1. Linda, I wonder if compromise is a the human fall-back? It seems like it sometimes. You’re right. It’s only by God’s grace and power that allows us to live the kind of life that brings God glory. May we both live out His abundance and truth in our every day interactions and choices.

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  4. Thank you for laying this all out and challenging me to look at myself and how I answer when God clearly calls. Compromise seems easier and less messy. I tell myself I’m not good at discerning whether he is asking me to speak up to the person in the grocery store or the clerk at a local store. That is the excuse I use but I know we can’t go wrong by sharing love and Jesus. It is the other person’s choice if they receive it. This series has been thought provoking. Thank you!

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    1. Mary, I completely agree with what you said. Especially about how we can’t go wrong by sharing love and Jesus. So true! I need to remember it’s not up to me to “save” someone. It’s up to me to share. And then let God do the work. 🙂 I appreciate your visits here!

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  5. We shared with a neighbor who we knew would not survive too much longer. He listened. He heard. He began going tp church and growing in the Lord. What a joy and a thrill it was for us! When he died, we knew where he was going! Such a gift!

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    1. There is something that fills us with joy when we have the privilege of sharing Jesus with those around us, isn’t there, Mom? I have always appreciated your passion for sharing the gospel.

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  6. Just this Sunday’s bible study was on how we are to be ambassador’s of Christ. An ambassador of Christ includes sharing the message along with living it out. Often that message is best for another through sharing our story, what God has done for us in our lives. Sounds easier than done! Although ‘evangelical’ in my written words in a public social media platform, I can definitely improve in real talk sharing!

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    1. Lynn, I like how you place the aspect of sharing about Jesus as a part of our “ambassadorial roles.” I hadn’t really considered that before. Yes, sharing our stories can be a beautiful avenue for helping another both see how Jesus meets broken people and how He loves them. I need to be more bold and intentional in real-talk sharing too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here, friend!

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  7. Dear Jeanne, how brave and articulate you are to get down to brass tacks about the Lord’s expectations of us! I like the way you opened with your own misstep, making the post about “we all”, not “you all”, compromise and falter at times. Thank you for the gentle, yet potent, reminders. Blessings, Friend!

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    1. Alice, we can truly learn from each other, can’t we? I am so far from perfect it’s rather hilarious. 🙂 God has His ways of giving His children His words to share with others, doesn’t He? It seems like any time I write a blog post, I know it applies to me first, and then I hope it will also minister to others. Thanks so much for your encouragement!

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    1. Kelly, it’s true. There are so many opportunities to share with others about Jesus, aren’t there? I’ve found that sometimes God prompts me to write a letter to someone and share. Since I am a SAHM, I don’t get out a ton, but I try to be the light and love of Jesus in my interactions with others. And, when I’m in a place like an airplane, I pray for opportunities to share, or at least plant seeds. I trust God uses me, whether I feel like I “do it right” or not. 😉

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  8. Very challenging! “Each choice we make moves us closer or further from Jesus.” So true! Actually, I’m leading a small group of adults who are all older than me. I really wrestle with this idea you presented and last weeks. My group, for the most part, is just okay with being okay. They say that they are not fine but aren’t willing to do anything about it. I’m wanting to get much closer to Jesus by living out and not compromising. IT IS SO HARD TRYING TO DO IT ON YOUR OWN. Has this been true for you or anyone? I find it much easier not to compromise and live out our faith when others are doing it with you.

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    1. Nate, thank you for your words. You are in a unique position, being the leader, but being the “youngest” of the group. It sounds like the people in your group don’t have a gnawing hunger for the Lord. It’s easier to be in a place of complacency than a place of vulnerability. If we open ourselves up to God, we lose control (our perceived control) of what He might do “to” us. It’s tricky to be leading a group that is okay with being merely okay (rather than fully alive in the Lord).

      You’re right. It’s hard to live out loud for the Lord on our own. We can do it, but God has made us to be inter-dependent with each other. He gives us people of like mind to encourage, challenge, sharpen us so that we can know Jesus more intimately and live for Him more passionately. I have had seasons where I felt like I was on my own. It’s hard. My husband has a guy he is accountable with. They spur each other on to love and good works, and challenge each other to know God’s word. I’m praying for you today. Both that God will bring someone of like mind alongside you so that you can help each other live well, and I’m praying (and I bite my nails saying this) that God will shake up the people in your small group. That they will see their need for greater intimacy with Him and hunger for Him.

      Thank you so much for your transparency here.

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  9. Jeanne, I’ve scrolled past links, photos, and quotes from this week’s post multiple times thinking it looked too convicting. It was convicting! I’m glad I finally stopped here to read. Thanks for speaking truth, friend. I’ve compromised about saying something often, usually settling for silence because I think I may say the “wrong thing” or say the right thing the “wrong way.”

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    1. Bethany, it’s funny how we do that sometimes, isn’t it? Scroll past something because we’re not sure we want to hear the message? 😉

      I’ve been the one to compromise by staying silent too. I think, as we grow in our confidence of God’s leading, this gets easier with time. But, for this confrontation-hating girl, it’s hard sometimes. 🙂 I learned from a friend after her baby died that, often, it’s better to say something wrong and show you care, than to stay silent out of fear. Sometimes silence is the first brick that builds a wall of distance between people.

      I so appreciate you stopping by!

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  10. Thank you, Jeanne, for this beautiful blog post.

    Reading your thoughts in this series is enlightening.

    I’m encouraged and feel like sharing my thoughts.

    It’s not always easy prompting what God gives us, right?

    Life with Christ is a life filled with second chances.

    That’s the real gift of being a Christian.

    You’re mentioning some exciting thoughts about the Christian culture today (Christians not reading Bible during the week, Christians with no absolute values etc.)

    Those are all alarming signs of taking shortcuts where we shouldn’t do it.

    As you say, we need to be repent and pray and seek Him.

    Few think about the fact that Jesus prayed Himself. Why did He? the son of God pray? Perhaps it was because He knew the power of praying?

    My favourite Christian authors are not the contemporary authors – not yet!

    What I like about reading Martin Luther, Thomas Aquinas, etc. is their lack of trust in the human mind.

    Their approach to what we’re capable of is very different from today’s interest for the the person we see when we look into the mirror.

    I have not chosen my faith – it has come to me via the words I’ve heard because I’ve found them trustworthy.

    I don’t believe it’s possible for me to chose right according to God.

    Humans will always make wrong decisions.

    But it’s great to know that God still loves us.

    I’m looking forward to nect week’s post.

    With love,
    Edna Davidsen

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    1. Edna, thank you so much for stopping by. I always appreciate your thoughts. You make me think. 🙂 Edna, I’m with you…so thankful God gives us second (and third, and hundredth) chances. His grace is more than I can comprehend. I think Jesus also prayed because He craved connection with His Father. I’m so thankful we have that same opportunity to have intimacy and communion with our Father.

      I’m so glad God is beyond human thought and understanding. He is faithful, steadfast, unchanging. This gives us stability in growing in our relationship with Him. I so appreciate your taking time to share your thoughts here. Thank you!

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  11. Thank you for encouraging us to self-examine our hearts, Jeanne. I’m afraid I have often compromised or wasted opportunities. It takes so much God-given wisdom to speak the right words. To speak the truth in love. I’m not assertive and too afraid of hurting feelings. I feel that some people first need to know how much we care before they want to know how much we know. At the same time, I do wish I would be more free in sharing Jesus and in answering His nudges and the doors He opens. Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Trudy, I am certainly the last one to cast judgment on wasting opportunities. I’ve done that so many times. I agree, there are times when loving another is the higher calling. Often, that does open the door for us to share the gospel with them. I just have to be careful about not walking through the open door, once God moves, you know? Maybe we can both pray for each other in this area.

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      1. Oh yes, Jeanne. I so need to answer God’s nudges more. Out of fear and insecurity, I too easily close the door and run the other way. I admire you for your sensitivity to following God’s leading. And I thank you for prompting me to much needed reflection. May we both follow Him no matter what!

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