From the book Being God’s Man by Standing Firm Under Pressure by Steve Arterburn, Kenny Luck, and Todd Wendorff
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king,
‘O, Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 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’ (Daniel 3:16-18).
No one likes to stand out if it means being ridiculed. So what do we do? We blend in; we go with the flow; we don’t rock the boat. Majority opinion prevails most of the time, and democracy has trained us to swallow the results of elections when more than 50 percent of the vote carries. Thankfully, no one posts our photo on the six o’ clock news and announces that we voted against the majority. We aren’t branded a dissenter, either and therefore the threat of a political assassination never enters our mind. But Daniel and his three friends faced such perils in Babylon.
That empire was not a democracy; it was a monarchy. Votes were not cast; rather, edicts and decrees flowed from the king’s mouth right into the law books. And why not? The king was considered divine and could rule as he wished. For loyal subjects, life could change on a dime. Noncompliance to the king’s edicts meant being branded a dissenter, which resulted in a one-way ticket to the brick furnaces. No questions asked, no two hundred dollars for passing ‘Go,’ and certainly no appeals. Once a law was written, it was a done deal. Break the law, feel the pain.
Times may change, but God’s men and women face trials of courage in every age. Nero blamed the Christians for the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64, and the slaughter that followed would have been a media bonanza. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor in Hitler’s Nazi Germany, stood strongly for
Christianity (which didn’t blend well with a master-race theology), and he was hanged from the gallows. In China today, being a committed Christian means being branded a counter-revolutionary. Christians constantly risk persecution or imprisonment, or they might even disappear.
Most believers in the Western world may never face this kind of test of their Christian commitment. But that doesn’t diminish the temptation to blend in, to not ruffle feathers, to go with the flow–living as God’s men and women, but incognito.
We have opportunities in our culture to stand out and stand up for our faith, to go against the grain, and we have thousands of choices in our lifetime to bring praise and glory to our Savior and Redeemer.
The question is: Will we choose to stand out? Or will we just get on board with the crowd and play it safe.
Set these three goals before you and pray God will help
you with them:
- Reject the demands of men if it means sinning against God
- Remember that God allows trials in your life to reveal His power
- Allow God to use your trials to reveal Himself to others.
You made him [man] a little lower than the heavenly
beings and crowned him with glory and honor. Psalm 84:11
For more help on this subject, please see: Being God’s Man’by standing firm under pressure.