There have been times where I’ve stopped to think about why we moved our family to Las Vegas, the city of sin. My Husband and I had very young children at the time and we hastily made the decision to move to a different state. The cost of living was way more promising compared to the steep prices of Santa Barbara, CA. We had plenty of family living in Las Vegas, where as in Santa Barbara we didn’t. I have no doubt that moving to Las Vegas was part of God’s plan for us, but looking back I know we were ill-equipped. Instead of relying on God we were relying on the promise of a better life by the world’s standards and our own abilities. God taught us something about our naivety. He taught us about compromise.
Compromise has the allure of truth. After all, part of the word is promise. But in reality compromise is an endangering of ones beliefs or reputation by choice. And the choice is usually a tiny one.
While the compromise might seem small…the repercussions are HUGE.
The Move That Changed Everything
When we lived in Santa Barbara, there was no doubt that the Lord was playing a huge part in our lives. We regularly attended Church, I taught Sunday School, and we even attended a few Bible Studies and Retreats. My husband had quit drinking for five years and that was a miracle in and of itself. I can think back and remember being so thrilled because God had spoken to me through certain passages in the word. God was blessing us! Here we were in our early twenties, and we thought we could take on the world.
Our kids were getting bigger and friends were starting to buy houses. We couldn’t see ourselves living in an apartment forever and owning a house in Santa Barbara just didn’t seem like a realistic goal. We visited family in Las Vegas one Easter and we were sold. The cost of living was a fraction of what it was in California and our kids would be able to grow up with their cousins. We prayed about it and saw that God was closing the doors in Santa Barbara, and opening them in Las Vegas. Before we knew it we had our boxes packed and traded the beach life in for the desert. Crazy, I know.
I got a transfer from my job and my Husband had work with his cousin. After just a few months we both found better paying jobs and had even found a sister Church to our Church in Santa Barbara. Things were looking up…
Until all of a sudden they weren’t.
My job had me working odd schedules and Sundays off were out of the question. The Church we were in didn’t capture our hearts the way our old one did. I now worked in a small group of women who were anything but Christian. While I held my ground at work for a while, the crude jokes and foul language tore away at me. Instead of taking a stand, I let my guard down. I became so tired between work and raising small kids that I found excuses not to read the word. I began listening to secular music instead of worship. My Husband and I started taking trips downtown to the strip on our days off to gamble a little here and there. See what was happening here? We were letting the world creep in.
Then it happened…
My Husband started drinking again.
Weekend family gatherings turned into binge-drinking parties. I began hanging out with the girls from work on my days off. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I was drinking too.
Those small, itty-bitty compromises were lures from satan himself. They were traps set to completely annihilate us.
“Stay Alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8 NLT
We were caught in a whirlwind of sin. Each small choice led to a larger one till it turned into a full-blown twister of destruction. Everything was in it’s path. Our marriage, our children, our relationship with the Lord…everything! It got so bad that I didn’t think we’d ever go back to living for God. It was in those times that I realized how much we had been relying on our own strength. We thought we could conquer anything that would be thrown at us. Instead of standing on the rock, we were sinking in the sand.
God Restored Us
The Lord Almighty knew what we’d be getting ourselves into. He knew that we would stumble and fall, and yet He loved us anyway. He loved us so much in fact that He guided us right back home.
As I reflect on those moments I am keenly aware that I had not been deeply rooted. I had been going through the motions as a young Christian thinking that would have been enough. Church was enough. Serving was enough. It turned out that it wasn’t enough. My relationship with the Lord was the one thing that could have gotten me through. Unfortunately the appeal of the world and what it had to offer me took over. It was why I was willing to convince myself that one little compromise wouldn’t hurt. I told myself that I would still be able to live a worldly life and love the Lord too. I never thought that the corruption I was allowing to take root would choke out the promise.
“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”
1 John 2:15-17 NLT
Compromise is Deadly
If we give the Enemy an inch, he will take a mile. If we don’t guard our hearts than we become susceptible to his deceptive plots. Don’t let him gain a foothold.
No one jumps right into the big sin. It always starts small.
Our Lord is faithful and always gives us a way out. No temptation is so large that you won’t be able to stand it. I encourage you now to stay strong in the Lord. Keep running the race well. Persevere till the end. It will be worth it. He keeps His promises. If you’d like to read more about how God rescued me from my mess please read my Mud & Mire post.
“Joyful are the people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.”
Psalms 119:1-3 NLT