Tuesday, February 7, 2012

When everybody is doing it

Daniel was among the many Jews transported from Judah to Babylon. He went from a monotheistic religion to a culture where many gods and idols were worshiped.

He went from a culture that tried to live by the authority of God’s word to a culture where people lived by the word of the king, or the authority of their own lives.

Almost overnight many things changed in his life: Daniel 1: 4-7
His name
His education
His language
His diet

How does one maintain biblical values and commitment to God in a majority pagan culture? The bible says that Daniel resolved, or made up his mind (Daniel 1:4). 

He couldn’t change the fact that he was in Babylon. He couldn't change the fact that he was in captivity; that his name would be changed; that his education would be tilted toward paganism. His captors controlled many things, except one thing, his mind.

They could not ultimately control his ability to choose.

They tried to force him to eat non-kosher foods

They tried to tell him and his friends who to worship

They tried to set limits on when he should pray and to whom he should pray

But they ultimately failed because he possessed something they could not take away: resolve.

To be resolved is to have a committed, determined, unbending disposition that enables a person say no to the things that defile and yes to the things that glorify God.

At the tender age of 19, Jonathan Edwards made up his mind to live a radically obedient life for God (click here to read them). His commitment changed 19th century America!

Every Christ-follower who wants to impact culture and be salt and light must have a similar resolve.

What are the boundaries to your life? Who will call the shots in your life regarding use of time, sexual practices, how money is spent, what is done with your body, what to watch on TV, what you read, or how to dress modestly? Having a determined, made up mind is critical if you are to stand for Christ in a majority pagan culture. 

When you choose to live a distinctly Christian life you will be challenged. You may be thrown into fire, thrown in a den with lions, you may even lose your life. But its worth it because your witness for Christ shines brightest when you stand up for Jesus. 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12: 1-2

Reader: What are some of the resolutions you have made as a follower of Christ?