Never Sacrifice Your Principles… Hello weekend readers. We are enjoying our time up here in New Mexico seeing some of our campers who come often and some new ones as well. In-between all that and the last few weeks of packing/moving, I still remain reading the news, “weeding out” the junk so you don’t get caught up in it. For me, reading about what is going on this globe helps me to pray for people and so much more. And this brings me to my musing about how we so easily fall to the prey and sacrifice of our principles. Reminds me of Pilate in last month’s walk with Jesus to the cross. He gave up everything to keep his power and prestige which didn’t last long. History tells us he was banished from his office and was sent to Gaul—not a great place. Sadly, he took his own life. A workman found his body still hanging on a tree. His cravings for popularity of the people cost him everything.

In the last few weeks we have seen huge changes in CEO folks being fired, down-graded, and that golden ring of success getting tarnished and let’s not ever think of the constant power grabs in our politics! When you sacrifice your principles for money and power, sooner or later your life will fall apart. What you wanted you couldn’t have, but what you needed was God’s wisdom to keep you from such a fall. Your choice was your wisdom instead—ugh.

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians 3:7–9 [MSG], we find the antidote for this problem:
“The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ, God’s righteousness.”

Sadly, way too many people choose a career over Jesus. Certainly you can have both, but in that hot pursuit of success it’s easy to sacrifice whatever it takes for success and then those principles you had fizzle away. John Maxwell, pastor, author, leader, has a great book on failure: Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success. The old adage “we learn from our mistakes” may help some, but in the end you get sucked in because you haven’t stuck to the plan God has for you. You don’t want to own your own responsibility and then you start using the ‘blame-game’.  Failures actually give us new wisdom to continue to thrive but you have to own it. You ask God to forgive you, you forgive yourself and then you forgive others. If that is not a part of your “failure strategy” you will sacrifice your principles.

Like Alfred Einstein said: “Try not to become a man of success. Rather, try to become a man of value” you let go of the world’s success and embrace the success God has for you. Your identity isn’t in the boardroom or the White House; it is in Christ Jesus and only in Him.

Many people in this world are trying to figure out the one thing that will make their lives perfect and wonderful. It doesn’t work that way—the brass ring tarnishes quickly. Instead of grasping for the fruit of the Spirit, we try to rely on our own spirit and that never works nor does it glorify the God who loves us and gives us everything we truly need.

In closing, don’t do what Pilate did in choosing the easy way out over what was the most important. He chose his ego which means ‘Edging God Out’ and continued his pursuit of admiration, power and significance and it cost him everything. He fell for that old adage: “Don’t get caught in the trap of compromise.” For Pilate that choice ended in ruin.

Each of us should be thinking about the purpose of our lives. What does God want us to do, say and how to live? The best thing may be to ask God, “why am I here, what do you want for and from me?” Go ahead ask, God will always answer you and lead you into the life he has planned out for you. Remember, whatever God plans is always perfectly GOOD! AMEN.