We all have our modern-day Sanballats and Tobiahs attempting to lure us into the compromise-ridden plains of Ono. But not all compromise is bad. We must be willing, in relationships, to compromise in matters of sheer personal preference But there is a type of compromise that seeks to peck away at our core, that sacrifices integrity for some temporal gain.
Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount, “but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). Like Nehemiah, what must be kept always before us is the kingdom of God and His righteousness; in order words, the people that will comprise of the kingdom of God (for He has no need of land) and the character of Jesus Christ!
When looking for a job, we look at the salary amount, benefits, and career potential. When looking for a potential spouse, we consider their looks, family background, income, and education. When looking for a house, we look at resale value, location, and aesthetics. But Jesus says, “all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows you need all these things.”
Followers of Christ are to look at the potential for evangelism and the character of Jesus first. You’re not just looking for a job, but an expenses-paid missionary opportunity. Your spouse is not just a companion, but a spiritual partner to reflect God’s character together. It’s not just a house, but a mission base and training center for ministry to your community.
Today we have Ono offers to compromise to work on the seventh-day Sabbath; to find someone nice to marry, but not a godly and faithful Seventh-day Adventist; and to accrue unreasonable debt to buy an irrationally large house to impress people we don’t even like. These calls don’t come once, but like the five letters of Nehemiah 6, they may persist throughout our lives. Temptations at work evolve into temptations within our careers; temptations of dating develop into temptations in our marriages; temptations of houses progress into temptations of lifestyle.
Modern Ono’s abound and our response should be, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down.” We can’t fight against these pressures on our own, but when we pray “O God, strengthen my hands” (6:9), Jesus will keep us from falling (Jude 24).