The greatest enemy of commitment is not complacency but compromise. On October 31, 1983, Korean Airlines Flight 007 departed from Anchorage, Alaska, en route to Seoul, Korea. Unbeknownst to the captain or crewmembers, however, the computerized flight navigation system was off by one and one-half degrees. When the plane departed, the error was undetectable. Even 100 miles out from the airport, the deviation could not be traced. But the longer the plane traveled, the more it strayed from its course. Before long, the plane was flying over Soviet air space.

Soviet radar locked on the lost plane, and the military dispatched fighter jets to intercept it. The jets shot Flight 007 from the sky over mainland Russia, resulting in the deaths of everyone on board. What began as a small compromise from the plane’s original course ultimately became a fatal, irreversible error.

Like Flight 007 on its ill-fated mission, our efforts at wholehearted spiritual commitment are often thwarted by degrees of compromise. This doesn’t have to be the case. Even in a world where everyone from religious leaders, to politicians, to school teachers is drifting off course through compromise, Christians can (and must) stay the course. We are the light of the world, a city on a hill. The world is looking to us for answers — but they will not follow if we will not lead the way. Our lives will, consciously or unconsciously, set a pattern for others to follow. We must be ever so careful not to allow the slightest deviation from our course, lest our compromise causes them harm.

The cause of Christ demands nothing less than total surrender. Are you on course, or are you off by degrees? Maybe you have set your course to live for Christ, but you have gradually drifted off-course because of small, moral compromises: telling a lie to make yourself look better, feeding the lust in your heart, attempting to manipulate people and situations to your advantage, or using unethical business practices. Your error might seem insignificant now, but before long, you will be flying in dangerous territory. (1 ½ degrees sealed the fate of the people onboard Flight 007.) Prayerfully consider whether you need to alter your course before you and others get hurt.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.