REFUSING TO COMPROMISE
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
When do you compromise and when do you refuse to? On the one hand, Jesus instructed us to make friends with our enemy before any court case can develop; and on the other, he teaches us to be true to the principles of the kingdom of God.
The history of Christian persecution is filled with inspiring stories featuring people of principle—those individuals who are immortalized for refusing to compromise their beliefs. John Bunyan was one of those.
In 1660, England’s experiment as a republic came to an abrupt end with the return to monarchist rule under Charles II. With this change, religious freedom also ended and Anglicanism was once again designated as the official state religion. It became illegal to conduct church services outside of the Church of England and unlicensed individuals were forbidden from addressing a religious gathering.
With these new laws, John Bunyan was arrested for preaching without a license. His growing popularity, though, prompted the judge to seek some sort of a compromise. Promising Bunyan immediate release if he only promised not to preach again, the judge’s leniency was met with the reply, “If you release me today, I shall preach tomorrow!”
Three times in his life Bunyan was arrested, convicted and jailed for preaching without a license. In the end, he spent over twelve years in prison. At any time during those years, he could have secured his freedom by simply promising not to preach. But Bunyan knew God’s calling on his life and so he adamantly refused to compromise his convictions.
Those prison years were certainly not wasted. It was during this time that Bunyan wrote the book Pilgrim’s Progress. Its immediate success and ongoing popularity have made it a Christian classic, the second most read book in English literature next to the Bible.
Today Christians around the world still languish in prison because they will not compromise their faith and give in to government suggestions for release. Christians in Laos are accused of following an “American” religion and would be released from prison and left in peace if they would sign a document recanting their commitment to Christ. Most refuse.
Christians in “shipping container” prisons in Eritrea would be released if they also signed such a document but prefer to suffer indefinitely for the cause of Christ than deny Him.
Compromise is not always bad, but when it comes to issues of faith, we are expected to stand for Christ and His kingdom principles.
RESPONSE: Today I will stand strong and true to my convictions and faith in Jesus and His kingdom principles.
PRAYER: Pray for those Christians in prison today mentioned above, that they will not give in to Satan’s temptations to deny their faith.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.