It’s passing the middle of October. Yet I am still attracted to the carefully-organized peaches on display at the grocery store.
My slow-walking-then-stop is accompanied by an internal conversation between common sense and my desire for yet one more delicious fruit….peaches in October? They’re not going to be any good…still, they don’t look too bad on the outside and I think I can smell a peach scent…what if these were late-harvested peaches, and they really aren’t so old?
Two peaches-in-October were carefully placed into the plastic produce bag and carted off to the brightly lit check-out stands.
The next morning, I discovered that the first peach gave me an “OK” eating experience. Not as juicy or peachy as I would have liked; but peachy-tasting enough, a decent texture, and not too bad…for mid-October. Then came Peach Number Two the following day: the odd-colored flesh around the seed gave me warning #1. The equally odd texture when I sliced it gave me warning #2. Still, I took a bite…and I don’t know what the flavor actually was, but it definitely was not peachy, and it flew speedily into the nearby open trashcan.
Yep—in my book, peach-buying season really had officially ended.
The reality, of course, is that “peach season” had truly ended at least a couple months earlier. I had hoped-against-hope that there were still a few “good ones” out there, although I knew the quality would be lacking, the flavor would have declined, and the texture would not be the same as an in-season, truly fresh peach. Even armed with all these facts, however, the peach still looked so good from the outside I decided to give it a try.
And I felt like the Lord whispered, that’s how compromise gets its traction. The enemy is a deceiver and what he offers is empty.
The seriousness of His statement gave me a jolt. It was a weighty and unexpected thought when contrasted with my simple pondering regarding out-of-season peaches.
Compromise. Superficial appeal. I could picture myself standing with Eve in the Garden of Eden, contemplating that fruit as “a delight to the eye.” (Gen. 3:6) The enemy always uses the same strategy — deception, misrepresentation.
Then Proverbs 25:26 came to my mind: “If a godly man compromises with the wicked, it is like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.” (Living Bible)
That description provides a vividly graphic mental image. Although there is no moral consequence to unwisely betting on the quality of October peaches, with moral compromise does come consequence: to our soul. To our judgment and perceptions. To our freedom and honesty in our walk with Him. To our witness of Him to others.
The Message translates 2 Cor. 6:14-18 with Paul exhorting, “Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership, that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. God himself put it this way: ‘I’ll live in them, move into them; I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people. So leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good,” says God. “Don’t link up with those who will pollute you. I want you all for Myself. I’ll be a Father to you; you’ll be sons and daughters to me.”
When I think of the phrase “gaining traction” I picture a car on the side of a road, slowly trying to enter the established lane. It’s a deliberate, strategic, well-timed act that requires some element of friction between surface and tire to enable momentum forward.
In our lives, situations and people that generate friction seem to be abundant. The momentum of the enemy to move forward into the lane of our lives is often easily achieved through simple and random interactions.
When Paul taught the Ephesians, “do not give the devil an opportunity,” (Eph. 4:27 NASB) it was preceded by several instructions, one which is phrased two different ways: “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” (Eph. 4:25)
Laying aside falsehood.
Speak truth each one of you.
Don’t pretend your October peaches were picked in June. Granted, that’s not scripture…but the principle is the same. Don’t deceive yourself or others about the nature of what you contemplate. Through forgiveness and truth, compassion and humility, keep your fountain clear, your spring of His life unclogged, and your lane of life cleaned of traction-enabling debris.