John was writing to the Church in Sardis…but he could be addressing the Church today in general. When he says, “Wake up!”, John is speaking not of just physically waking up and throwing off our lackadaisical Christianity…but of waking up morally and realizing we have been compromising our faith away. John was talking about comfortable or lazy Christianity…we’re saved and satisfied…but all the while the rest of the world outside is dying and going to Hell.
With each temptation, the devil offered Jesus a shortcut…a way to compromise and thus circumvent God’s plan. So anytime our own impatience tempts us to not wait but instead run ahead of God…we’re playing right into the same scheme. Now none of us like to wait…we all want immediate gratification, so when offered a shortcut, we usually take it. But within that shortcut can hide compromise, risk, and loss. I Corinthians 15:58 encourages us to, “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” In God’s perfect plan there are no shortcuts, and even though we may feel impatient when waiting on the Lord…we are to stand firm, fully committed and trusting in Him.
Last night our Bible Study was discussing how easily we compromise to the world’s standards. How one small concession only leads to another, and another, until we suddenly find ourselves far from God and the path He has chosen for us. A wonderful analogy was shared by our friend who is employed with a co-worker in a large, cavernous warehouse with many, many fluorescent lights…of which slowly over time, were going out one by one. Neither lady realized it until one day they both exclaimed how dark it was inside! As they toured the building, they discovered there were 18 fluorescent lights out…no wonder it was so murky! Compromise is just as insidious…happening slowly…one acquiescence at a time…until suddenly we too find ourselves in the dark.
In the New Testament, yeast is figuratively used for evil or sin, which can penetrate and corrupt our lives if allowed. The way this usually happens is when we compromise in some small area of our life. We say to ourselves, “It really doesn’t matter…it’s just a trivial thing…it’s not hurting anyone.” But just like yeast, it only takes a scant amount to leaven the entire batch…and soon that small unwise action blossoms, showing our vulnerability towards compromise in other areas of our life.