When you were first saved, one of the first things you probably realized is that following Jesus Christ is not easy. The world will always have its pressures and expectations, those will never change, but neither will God’s faithfulness. Remember the words of Jesus, in John 15:18-19 when He said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” As you grow and mature in your faith, you’ll find that you’re able to withstand tougher and tougher storms. You’ll find that what once made you tremble in fear doesn’t even turn your head anymore!
In Daniel 3, the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Adebnego points out their immense courage in standing up to the furious King Nebuchadnezzar, especially when they said, “the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18) That is faith, indeed! But don’t forget this: Those three young men (as well as Daniel) had witnessed the murders of their entire family, the sacking of their beloved city, the obliteration of their people and then they’d been taken captive- and they’d never lost their faith in the Lord. Through every trial, every tear, every pain, they persevered and did not let go of the Truth they knew about God. Finally, even when facing death, they persevered in their faith as the fire grew hotter. After all they’d been through, they were not bitter. They were better. They were not weaker, they were stronger! (Daniel 1:11-15)
So often we become so terrified of being thrown into the “fire” in our lives if we speak up or stand out, that we forget this: THAT’S WHERE GOD IS!
The darkness, destruction, despair and deadly circumstances of the world we live in is no different, even today! People still hate you because you love the Lord. People will still push and pressure you because you love the Lord. People will still try to challenge and disprove your faith. Life will always have its injustices, hardships, trials and fears. The world will try to get you to admit that their definitions of marriage, sexuality, morality, gender, race and human life are right- even when they conflict with God’s Word! People will demand you change your definitions and convictions and threaten you unless you accept what they assert is true. And if you dare to disagree? They’ll try to set your world on fire. Don’t cave to the pressure- persevere! Why? Because you are alive to fight another day!
The trials that you’re facing today may one day pale in comparison to what you may face in the future, but in the future, your faith will not waver at the fire if you persevere in the Truth today. WE WILL NOT SERVE YOUR GODS. That must be the cry of every Christian who is facing the fire. WE WILL NOT BOW DOWN to the gods of Hollywood, or liberalism, or homosexuality or racism or vain philosophies or mixed religious ideas or man’s ideas about creation or science that denies God’s Word and the pressures that come with them. They’re everywhere, but GOD IS WITH YOU IN THE FIRE.
Thought for today
Do you believe the Word of God is true? The day will come, and may already be here in your life, when you’ll have to take a stand and persevere until the end of the matter. We must make a distinction between man’s ways and God’s wisdom, turning from man’s decrees and instead declaring what the Word of God says- even if those angry people claim to be Christians! In Acts 4, even the religious leaders commanded the apostles to stop using Jesus’ name, the Apostle’s reply was, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot help but declare what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19) and when it happened again? “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)
While Shadrach, Meshach and Adebnego were thrown into the fire, there was “a fourth man in the fire” (Daniel 3:25) and if you’re thrown into the fire in your family, your career, your friends, your co-workers or anyone else who wants you to “bow”, God will be with you too! So often we become so terrified of being thrown into the “fire” in our lives if we speak up or stand out, that we forget this: THAT’S WHERE GOD IS!
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