Throughout the Bible, you will find men. These mere men bravely challenged cultural norms, authorities, and kings- all in the name of God. They changed history, shaped society, and made a difference. They said no, not to prove a point or be rebellious; but because it was inconsistent with their already established lifestyle and relationship with God. I’ve been studying the book of Daniel– if you want an extra boost of boldness–I highly recommend it.
The book of Daniel opens up with a dinner scene. While other men were overjoyed to be offered such foodful-bliss, Daniel looked past the endless supply of gourmet foods set before him. He knew the “choice foods” lacked substance. Daniel was well aware that you are what you eat. He was confident enough to challenge the officer in a food-eating contest of “who will be stronger.” Not because he was a Jewish brat too good for the five-star royal palace; but because he had personally reaped the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. To everyone’s surprise, Daniel proved to be stronger after only eating fruits, vegetables and water.
How many times do we find ourselves scarfing down whatever has been served before us? Sure, fancy schmancy things this world has to offer may temporarily satisfy our carnal taste buds– but they lack nutrients, strength, and life. We’re prone to eating the wrong foods only when we haven’t experienced the legit stuff. In order to call out the fake– you must first be acquainted with the real.
“The drums are off beat… We’ve sung this song sixteen times this week… Someone please inform the ‘joyful noise’ behind me that she can’t sing… The lights are in my eyes… Typo on the screen.” I hate to admit it, but these are just some of the conversations bouncing around in my head during chapel. Sometimes, the most un-worshipful things are discussed between the hours of 8AM and 9AM. Distractions– they’re everywhere, always threatening to cheapen the reality of a loving God worthy of my praise.
We hear stories of martyrs around the world and ask ourselves “in the face of death–would I take a stand?” I’ve asked myself this question various times. Most of us would answer eagerly and without hesitation—“yes!” After all, “to die is gain” …right? Unlike most of us, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, were actually faced with this question– and it wasn’t hypothetical. In Daniel 3, we see that these men took a stand and refused to bow– while the knees of others buckled. And God proved to be faithful.
In our laziness, we struggle to push past the distractions and worship Him. We say we would die for Christ–yet we fail to take a stand in the small “insignificant” issues that we come in contact with every day. To say you would die for Christ while failing to live for Him is a double standard. Our lives should be a symphony of worship– a life spent in passionate pursuit of the God who first loved us.
Do you ever find yourself ready for bed and dozing off, only to realize that you went the whole day without saying a single word to God? “My alarm went off late… I just need to go to bed… I’m hardly ever alone… God knows my heart.” These are all excuses I’ve both heard–and used. Is God really that big a part of my un-ordinary, everyday life?
In Daniel 6, we read that Daniel was consistent in his prayer life. He was well set in his ways. He was faithful in his relationship with Christ even when threatened with death. This world throws options, alternatives, and even threats in our face, but it’s easy to say no when there’s a God to whom you’ve said yes.
To Daniel, communication with his Maker was more important than life itself. Daniel’s example of steadfast commitment challenges me to ask myself: If praying were illegal—would I be found breaking the law consistently?
In A Nutshell–
Despite being threatened with death, four men broke the law– not because they went out of their way to, but because they were men of consistency. When you’ve made it a habit to stand for small things; the big things naturally become no-brainers. Consistency is the key to boldness.
So, yes; while living for God you might find yourself in a fiery furnace, alienated, or thrown into a den of lions. But rest assured, “To the faithful He shows Himself faithful.” (Psalm 18:25)