Standing Up & Standing Out

All Christians will come into contact with hard-hearted people with ungodly beliefs, philosophies, and practices.  We must determine to be faithful to God and distinct from the world. Daniel distinguished himself as a godly person who was relied upon for his wisdom despite the worldly culture of the Babylonian government:

And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego. But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

-Daniel 1:3-8, KJV
I’ve identified with Daniel over the years because he was a man with a secular job who desired to live by faith. I’m excited to now enjoy serving in the full-time ministry, but not everyone has that opportunity.  Because of where many us work and live, we have direct and immediate access to all sorts of people, many of them unbelievers.  We don’t have to go around the world to be a missionary.  Often those with the greatest needs are closer than you think.
In order to reach those needy people, you have to demonstrate a faith that is able to withstand the hardships of life.
If you’re going to become a Christian who will STAND UP and STAND OUT for Christ then you must develop solid convictions and maintain unquestionable faith in Christ!
Become a Christian with Convictions
Daniel was culturally separated in Babylon.  He was away from family he loved, the temple where he worshipped, and national customs and holidays.  The Babylonians sought to change his language, diet, and beliefs
And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. 
Daniel 1:3-4

I’ve had the privilege to travel to many countries from Australia to Qatar and many places in between.  One of my favorites was Canada, where I learned a lot about their culture from food (like cod tongues and cheeks in Newfoundland) to religion (Hockey Night in Canada)!  It’s not hard to convince me to eat great food and watch hockey, but I have beliefs that are non-negotiable.  One time at my previous place of business I was told to stop sharing the Scriptures with a co-worker. I refused. The result: the co-worker became a faithful member at church, and my detractors became my defenders when they saw the fruit of the Word of God.

We find ourselves by ourselves in life sometimes.  We can find ourselves away from out sources of accountability such as family, pastors, or church friends.  There will be times when we will be tempted to divert from our convictions.

The wrong philosophy when it comes to our beliefs is, “When in Rome, do as the Romans.” Learn to reject the empty views of others that take you away from Jesus:

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Colossians 2:8

We must not be disillusioned by “another gospel” that is so quickly and easily espoused.  The methods make sense, yet they lead to unbiblical practices.  Consider how often you are pressured to make unethical or immoral choices that put your self-interests at the heart of the problem.  Any situations come to mind?

The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart.  Our wicked heart makes sluggards of us to prefer the “path of least resistance,” but we must draw the line and maintain what makes us unique: our belief in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to rescue us and keep us safe from this present evil world.

Jesus Christ “gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Galatians 1:4).  We must stand up for the Gospel of the resurrected Christ and then stand out as a child of the great King!

Where to begin?  First “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” and then you will “and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3:15).  The problem is people have lost their desire to sanctify the Lord in their heart.  Sanctifying the Lord will change you – Do you want to change?  Will you change?  If you desire to change then you must make God’s Word the agent of your change.  The Word of God lights our path and guides our feet (Psalm 119:105).

Daniel refused to violate his conscience or waiver in his convictions.

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
Daniel 1:8

As a result, he was regarded as a source of wisdom and encouragement when people were in crisis.  Don’t believe it?  Just consider the testimony of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4) as well as the strong bonds of faith between Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Why is there so much unfaithfulness among Christians today?  Unfaithfulness is the smoke that rises from the ashes of complacency.   Christians aren’t standing up because they’ve forsaken the power of the Gospel that makes them stand out.

An apathetic devotional life must be replaced with zeal to see God more clearly, follow Him more nearly, and love Him more dearly.

Can this level of commitment become reality without cultivating the desire to know, believe, obey, proclaim, and defend the Word of God?

The world doesn’t need more half-hearted and weak-kneed believers; the world needs Christians who are committed to their convictions with unquestionable devotion.

It has been well said that the light that shines the farthest shines the brightest at home.  How bright is your light? If you’ve neglected what makes you stand out for God (faithfulness to Jesus Christ and His Word) then you’ll be unprepared to stand up for Christ when the time comes.

Pray to the Lord and commit yourself to zealously follow Jesus Christ each day!

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