Life Isn’t Fair

Steve Arterburn

When you experience unfairness in life, the examples of the prophet Daniel and his three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will give you encouragement and direction. Despite their lives of obedience, Daniel and his friends weren’t protected from God’s judgment on their nation, Judah.  Innocence doesn’t automatically protect you from tragedy.  But you do have the assurance that God is concerned about what you’re doing, and He will honor your faithfulness and obedience.

Daniel and his friends sought to live according to God’s plan, but they found that others opposed their efforts.  This led initially to great danger, but ultimately a great victory.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had to walk through a fiery furnace because they obeyed God. Only the ropes that bound them were burned by the fire.

Then when he was 80 years old, Daniel was thrown into a den of lions because he was faithful to God, but he walked out unscathed.  God used these trials to bring blessings to his servants and glory to himself.  As you seek to be obedient to God, he may lead you into some difficult situations.  But more often than not God uses such trails to strengthen your character and bless you.  

If Daniel and his friends hadn’t believed that God was sovereign, they might have decided that compromise was better than risking their lives.  But then they wouldn’t have experienced the glorious victories God gave them. What an affirmation of God’s faithfulness!  

80/20 Obedience

Steve Arterburn

One man is silent when called to speak. Another’s speech is seasoned with anger, bitterness and everything negative rather than grace.

 

Men, the gospel of our Lord calls each of you to a higher standard. Each of you, however, has become too highly skilled at setting aside God’s clear instructions for our lives, are choosing a path of disobedience instead.

 

Don’t amend God’s word with the latest trends, and don’t ignore the call of God’s Spirit to our own plans and purposes. Selective obedience isn’t true obedience. In fact, it’s a recipe for disaster. Even if you seek to follow God 80 percent of the time, the 20 percent of the time you don’t will sink you every time.

 

As the apostle Paul warned Timothy, many men serve their own interests by having ‘a form of godliness but denying its power.’ For instance, men know when they are sexually violating God’s will, but they continue to indulge their sin anyway. Husbands know when they’re tearing down their spouses, but they continue the verbal tirades. Fathers know when their kids are just dying for some time with Dad, but other demands always take priority.

 

By way of contrast, when God’s man is tempted to enter that 20% zone, he does what God would have him do’even if it’s less convenient or not as immediately gratifying. Guys, one of the great ironies of the Christian life is that freedom comes through obedience. Dare to live freely in joyful submission to your Lord today!