Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Non-conformist--Faith Under Fire

This week at h2o, Ben Allen, a local YoungLife leader, continued walking us through our current series The Non-Conformist. Specifically, he told the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and how this story bears lessons for each of us. Not familiar with these guys, check ‘em out in Daniel chapter 3.

Daniel’s three friends refused to worship an idol (a ninety foot tall statue of the king of Babylon). As a result of their refusal, the king of Babylon told them that they were going to be placed in a fiery furnace. The king was going to burn them alive for their rebellion.

Many of us believe that we would do the same and die for our faith, but the irony of it all is that as much as we think we would be willing to die for our faith many of us lead lives filled with compromise.

Not only did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse, but they said that their God could deliver them—but even if He didn’t deliver, they would rather die than worship something other than their God.

They went through the fire, and they came out alive. Even the soldiers preparing the fire were consumed by it, but these three men were not burned. Amazingly, there was what appeared to be a fourth person in the fire, and the fourth had an appearance like a son of the gods.

When we step out in faith, God doesn’t leave us hanging. He may not deliver us like He did these three, but He will walk through it all with us.

When we make a stand for God in the midst of persecution—God gets glofied.

Further, when we are willing to resist, we are able to be even greater witnesses to other people. King Nebuchadnezzar said that there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way. By resisting the temptation to go with the flow of this world, they were able to win the heart of the most powerful leader in the world.

Often we are tempted to give in to the sway of this world. We gossip, we become gluttonous and indulgent, we lust, and we give in to all kinds of “every day” temptations. Rather than waiting for someone to throw us into a furnace, perhaps we should learn to resist in our every day existence.

How do we overcome?

According to Ben, and more importantly, the Bible, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Take some time and look to the One who leads and guides us.


Tricia said...

Very cool about your number of visitors, Billy!

BigMama said...

Great thoughts. I know that for me, it's a lot easier to stand up for right against the BIG idols or injustices than it is against those little ones. Saying no to something that is obviously evil is difficult, but saying no to those little evils can be so much MORE difficult. It's a lot easier to justify a lot of "little" sins.

This is where the hymn "I need Thee ev'ry hour" makes a pretty profound statement!