Living in the Tension


You can be successful without compromising. Are you willing to live with that tension?

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth—Colossians 3:2

You can’t be successful in life without compromising. That’s a lie. You can’t get ahead without adopting the values of the places where you live and where you work. That’s not true. Now, there’s tension, of course. Our cities, our workplaces are part of the world, and the ruler of this world is the enemy (John 12:31, John 14:30, 1 John 5:19). That’s why arrogance, greed, and materialism often characterize these places and bring admiration and status, recognition and promotion. There’s tension because, while the enemy may rule the world—for now—he doesn’t rule us (Colossians 1:13). The one who rules us stands for humility, generosity, and love.

The lie is that we should try to ease this tension—that we should, by compromising, try to make things easier on ourselves. It’s from the enemy. It’s one he uses often:

“Go ahead. It's just the way things work in the real world.”

“You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to compete . . . to survive.”

“Relax. Everybody does it.”

But we’re “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” (1 Peter 2:9). To be that is to live in the tension. You see, we’re sent “into the world,” but we mustn’t be “of the world” (John 17:14-19). When we’re willing to live in the tension, and only then, can this broken world feel the full weight of who we really are—who God intends us to be, with him.

Okay, so what do we do?

This week, when you walk into any situation—into work in the morning; into conversations with colleagues; into the schools your kids attend; into a restaurant with friends—declare ahead of time, in prayer, that you’re bringing the Kingdom of Jesus with you. Then act like it.


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