Hang out with any group of girlfriends for more than a couple of hours, and chances are you will hear one of them say “I just couldn’t help myself, I had to do it!”. No matter what “it” is, the point is the same….we often find ourselves blaming some invisible force for the decisions we make. We knew that we shouldn’t have called someone a name, but we just couldn’t help ourselves, right? But the truth is, “I just couldn’t help it” is just a phrase we use to help us justify the poor choice we made. Now, I know that many times this is something uttered in gest, but this is a very dangerous territory to be playing in. James is very clear on the matter of our choices and the impact they can have on our lives.
James 1:13-15 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
How often do we make compromises with what we know to be wrong? We know that theft is wrong but yet we will compromise that belief when it comes to taking office supplies home from work…or you work in a restaurant and eat food you didn’t pay for. We teach our children how important it is to always be honest but then compromise that belief by the lie we tell our boss take an extra day off of work…or maybe it’s the lie we put on our credit application by inflating our salary just a little bit. We know that God commands us to love every one but then turn around and call the person who cut us off in traffic a name under or breath (or some of us shout it out!)
These are all compromises. We know that these things really are wrong but we reason with ourselves that they are minor enough to not really matter. The truth is, it all matters. No one ever sets out to fall away and if the enemy were to tempt us with the big things we would recognize them and put a stop to it, but the enemy of our souls is subtle. He is on a constant prowl, lurking in the corners of our mind waiting for any opportunity to tempt us with a chance to compromise. I mean, after all, if it was okay for me to take home a notepad from work yesterday then it’s probably okay for me to take a ream of paper today, right? If one meal at work was okay last week, well, maybe I can take home some food for my kids tonight…
These compromises are choices that we make. As it says in James 1:14 we are drawn away by our own lusts…our lust for ‘more’ causes us to take things that don’t belong to us. Our lust for power or position will cause us to put others down so that we look better. Our lust for success will cause us to lie or hurt others. The choices we face every day may seem small, but they can lead us down a dangerous road. If you examine yourself with brutal honesty, there is a good chance you can find areas in your life where maybe you have compromised. Find those areas and put a stop to them now! Repent from the “small” because if you don’t, they will grow and before you know it they can consume you. We have to learn to address each choice we are faced with as if our souls depend on it, because they do!