Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Nonconformist-Uncompromised

I took this photo during a recent faith venture to Washington, DC with a group of friends from h2o. I thought it was a great representation of a life that didn't conform to the norm.

This week at h2o, we started a new series called The Non-conformist and the name of this week's talk was Uncompromised. The series is looking at the lives of Daniel and his friends, and how they refused to conform to the ideals of the society within which they were placed. Daniel and his friends lived in a very difficult time, and they were eyewitnesses of one of the greatest tragedies in the history of their people. The defeat of Judah by the Babylonians, and the subsequent deporting that took place. Daniel and his friends were children who were brought into the most powerful Kingdom of their day, and they were given many "opportunities" to assimilate and find their identity in the new Kingdom. All the while, they resisted; they didn't yield their identity or try to "blend" in with everyone else.

There are ways in which they experienced the same culture as their babylonian peers, but they experienced it differently. They used every opportunity they had to glorify God. When it came to education, they pursued education in Babylon with diligence. But when it came to compromising their faith in YHWH, they were unwaivering in their commitment.

They wouldn't eat the King's food or drink his wine. I wonder if anybody would have faulted them for it if they would have. You see, I think that's the way compromise sneaks into our lives. We justify every little thing, and nobody really makes an effort to call us out. It's almost like some sins are somewhat respectable in the eyes of most people. And maybe that's just our problem.

This all the forces at work in this world are bent on making us just like everybody else. But God is interested in conforming us to the image of His son. For Daniel and his cohorts it wasn't necessarily the foods themselves, but maybe it was what those foods represented. Those foods and wine represented Babylon and all it had to offer.

Sometimes I think our lens gets hazy and we become somewhat blinded or forgetful when it comes to understanding our place in God's story.

So let me ask you a question. Have you bought into another story? Are there areas of your life that have forgotten God's great story of love, mercy, reconciliation, and restoration? Now is as good a time as any to take stock and let go.

As Paul Reminds us in his letter to the church in Rome, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

Let's renew, and let Him transform us--so that we, like Daniel, might transform the place where we live for the glory of the Messiah.

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