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Five weeks ago, I shared with you some lessons I had gleaned from a 2,500-year-old letter to exiles that helped me wake up the morning after the election, shake off the discouragement of defeat, and immediately start building and planting.
That letter has inspired many people to break free of the sinking feeling of being thrown into political exile. I’ve heard story after story…. but to be honest, I think the message I shared has impacted me as much if not more than anyone else.
In the past 36 days I have been presented with more opportunities to build, plant, bless and pray than perhaps at any time in my life. And I’m moving forward as fast as I can with each opportunity.
And yet I can feel something else….
I believe it’s the greatest temptation that we face today and that anyone in the midst of a personal “exile” will struggle with.
It’s as if you can feel it in the air.
I’m talking about the temptation to…. compromise.
+ + Our Single Greatest Temptation
Compromise is the single greatest temptation that people in exile feel, and if you think about it, the reason is pretty obvious.
Especially in the early stages, exile is all about one thing: survival. After we get over the initial shock of exile, it doesn’t take long to realize that it’s going to take everything we have just to survive this season. Standing on principle didn’t work out so well, we rationalize. And now we find ourselves in exile to people who seem to be doing just fine standing for the opposite of what we believe.
So we need to survive to fight another day, we tell ourselves. And that means compromise. Get along with our “captors.”
It happened 2,500 years ago when the Jews were sent into exile. In fact, you probably know the stories well.
Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego — the best and the brightest of Israel’s young men — were placed with the a select group of elite men. Even in exile, they were being groomed for leadership.
But they had to just do one thing…. compromise.
**Eat these foods provided by the king that are not in your diet…
**Bow down and worship to the “god” erected by the state rulers…
+ + Eat the government’s “food”…
It’s easy to justify compromise. We can advance the greater cause. We can live to fight another day. Perhaps we can get into some position of authority that will, long term, help our movement. If we compromise.
Eat the government’s “food”….
Bow to the government’s “god”…
Okay, maybe this is a stretch, but fast-forward with me to December 2012. What are we being told? That we must eat the government’s food — more tax revenues. And that we must bow to the government’s god — spending and more government-centric solutions.
And if we just do these two simple things, we will not be blamed for hurling our nation off the fiscal cliff…. and maybe we can live to fight another day.
Can you feel the struggle facing John Boehner and the GOP members of Congress? Before I throw too many stones, let me say that this is the struggle each of us faces in exile.
It sounds so appealing, especially when we find ourselves in exile wondering about our own survival.
But compromise is the worst thing we can do in exile. Because when we compromise, something inside of us dies. And we forget why we must build and plant and bless and pray. All of our building and planting loses its purpose. And we die in exile.
+ + Facing the flames…
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego faced a choice… bow to the god of the government or face the flames and sure death. But they didn’t even see it as a choice. They told the corrupt king that they did “not need to give you an answer.” They believed God would deliver them from the flames. But deliverance wasn’t even what was of utmost importance. Principle was paramount…
“But even if [God] does not [deliver us], let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Day 36 of exile. Can you feel the temptation to compromise in the air? Let’s stand. And let’s get busy building and planting and blessing and praying without straying from our principles.
Thanks, and Let’s Build!
Steve Elliott, Grassfire
+ + + +
A quick update on Thriving In Exile — our new resource that shares the lessons of exile in more detail. We expect to receive the first shipment from the printer by the end of this week. Grassfire team members have pre-ordered more than half of our initial print run and there is a good possibility that we will sell out before the end of the year. The good news is, we can still get your two copies to you before Christmas — but we need you to hear from you as soon as possible. Go here to order your two copies of Thriving In Exile and ensure pre-Christmas delivery:
Watch Glenn Beck read the Letter to Exiles: