“Yet you were not willing to go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 1:26
God promises believers a life of joy, peace, and victory. He even gives us everything we need to experience an abundant and victorious life through the Holy Spirit. Why then, do so few Christians live this way? It can usually be traced back to compromise; thinking that absolute obedience to the Lord is optional. Anytime we make concessions to God’s commands we step onto the path of spiritual mediocrity. A life of uncompromising Christianity starts with obedience—complete obedience.
There’s no better illustration of this than in Deuteronomy 1. Here, Moses recounts why a whole generation of Israelites wouldn’t live in Canaan. Even though the Lord promised victory, Israel became obstinate. They failed to realize that obedience isn’t optional for God’s children. They allowed the challenges ahead of them to overshadow the promises of God. The moment they rebelled against His command they stepped off the path of victory.
Their story serves as a warning for us today. Many professing believers make compromises in an attempt to keep the peace. Compromise comes in many forms, but it usually looks less time consuming and more comfortable than God’s path. If we are “not willing” to do as God says, then we’re in rebellion.
It’s important to note that praying for alternative ways to accomplish God’s will isn’t sinful. In Gethsemane Jesus asked the Father if there was any other way than the Cross. Yet, Jesus wasn’t obstinate. He prayed,“not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Obedience without compromise relinquishes our personal desires to God. That’s why Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Christianity is an invitation to come and die.”
The next generation of Israelites obediently crossed the Jordan River into Canaan and were victorious. And by putting the Father’s will above all else, Jesus was victorious over sin and death. Likewise, we live in victory by dying to self-interest in order for Jesus to live through us (Luke 9:23-24; John 12:24; Galatians 2:20).
How about you? Have you stepped off the path of victory and onto the path of spiritual mediocrity? Ask God to show you where you’re compromising complete obedience to His commands. Then genuinely pray, “Not my will, but Your will.” Remember, the victorious life takes the path of the Cross rather than the path of compromise.