Contend Through Conviction
In Daniel 3, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah would be challenged to stand, literally and alone, against the power of the Babylonian empire. And when the worship-crazy king ordered them to bow to his statue, they chose the furnace instead.
Their reply constitutes as fine a statement of devotion to God as any in history: "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up" (Dan. 3:17-18).
We don't get the feeling from the text that the three young men stepped aside to prepare their statement prior to being dragged before the king. For people with true conviction, certain decisions have already been made. No amount of discussion would change one simple fact: They would not bow. No matter what.
Have you similarly decided you will remain faithful, no matter the cost? Could any circumstance make you renounce your faith in Christ?
The question is posed not only to invite our firm resolve in Christ, but also to consider that until we resolve certain things, Satan will threaten us unmercifully.
You and I, our children and our children's children can resist compromise no matter how stunningly carnal this world becomes. If we resolve.
Do you want to be a Daniel? Do you want to resist the tidal wave of temptation to blend in? Have you predetermined your loyalty to Christ? Do you want to live a life of integrity?
We will do it on purpose or we will not do it at all. The enticing voice of the world calls us from billboard to magazine stand, from television to Internet. God's warning to Cain has never seemed more corporate: "'sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you'" (Gen. 4:7).
While others compromised, Daniel and three friends remained obedient to the laws of God. Babylon did everything it could to indoctrinate their minds and steal their souls. But God granted the young men His own knowledge and understanding in every matter. In other words, whatever Babylon taught them, God interpreted to them.
They learned the language, literature and customs all right, but only so God could use them in the midst of it. They read the language of their culture with the lens of God. Thereby, they became culturally relevant without becoming spiritually irrelevant. Against all odds, they retained a God-centered worldview so that ultimately the world could view their God.
Tenacious obedience, Dear One! We will stand firm amid the current of our culture no other way. God will be glorified and blessing will come. Now or later. Here or there.
Enter the true King's service. A lost world needs to view your God.
Beth Moore is the author of Daniel: Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy (LifeWay), from which portions of this article were adapted.
Dale McCleskey also contributed to this article.
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