1. How can compromise be a good thing? When can it be destructive?
2. Is there something currently in your life that you believe God is calling you to that you are afraid to pursue for fear of the reaction of others? If yes, what is it? Is this fear keeping you from being obedient to the Holy Spirit?
3. What are some specific things in your life that you know you cannot compromise on? Do your convictions drive your actions?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for giving me your Holy Spirit, and your Word, which both convict and give direction. Please convict me of any compromise in my life that has led to sin and disobedience, and enlighten me to the things that I cannot compromise. Help me to stand strong by the convictions that come directly from you and your Word.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
There are some situations where compromise is necessary. If people did not compromise in certain aspects of their lives, nothing would ever get accomplished. There is; however, also a negative aspect of compromise. When it comes to matters of faith, compromise can sometimes lead to a lowering of standards, which is always negative.
As we conclude our study on Barnabas, we want to focus on both the positive and negative aspects of his life. As we have studied, there is much good that was accomplished by this man of God. Also, as we studied last week, there is at least one instance in his walk that we want to be careful not to emulate. Tonight, we are going to conclude our study with the final mention of Barnabas in the book of Acts. Although it is a brief passage, I believe we can glean one more lesson out of it.
Acts 15:36-39 says: “Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.’ Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus.” It is clear from this story that Paul did not have a particularly high view of Mark at this point in time in Scripture. Barnabas, possibly remembering the potential he saw in Paul, had a different view of his younger cousin. As the Bible tells us, neither Paul nor Barnabas was willing to compromise his belief about whether or not to take John Mark on the next journey. We don’t have much in Scripture that tells us of the journey of Barnabas and Mark, but Paul’s own words do give indication that Barnabas’ discernment of the potential of Mark was well founded. Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:11 to bring Mark with him because “he is helpful to me in my ministry.” One has to wonder if Paul ever second-guessed his decision not to take Mark.
Guys, there are times in our walk where we have to agree to disagree. Brothers and sisters in the faith can disagree on matters of doctrine and still love Jesus together. There are times; however, when we have to stand our ground. If we believe God is calling us to do something, and it does not go against Scripture, then we have every right to pursue it. While godly counsel is a valuable resource, sometimes other believers can actually hinder what God is calling us to in our lives. They may be well-intentioned, but they may also be wrong. It falls on us to stand by our convictions, even if it seems ludicrous to others.
I want to encourage each one of us to know why we believe what we believe, and be able to defend our actions based on sound reasoning. Others may not agree with what you do because of your faith, but if you are grounded enough in what you believe, and approach others in a loving manner, they will at least respect your actions. Barnabas was a man who believed deeply and passionately in the things that he did. Aside from the one instance mentioned in the Bible describing his hypocrisy, we find a man who did not compromise what he believed. His convictions drove his actions. I challenge each one of us to live a life of faith that is unwilling to compromise.