Are our choices reflecting what our focus is? When somebody looks at the way you are living your life, will they be able to see and say with absolute certainty that you are different than the world around you?
Our end goal is to run to the Father, make disciples and live for Him, and to be in heaven with Him one day. I can’t help but think of how we have such a massive responsibility as Christians to be the salt and light, to take care of our testimonies.
That translates to doing hard things; standing out like a sore finger because we make choices that are contrary to what the world seeks. We have a different end goal and focus.
I recently did a study on Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael -or better known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. These were young men taken from their country, families, and all they ever knew to serve a king in a foreign country. They were to be indoctrinated, re-wired and changed by a culture that goes against all they were raised to believe. Their names were changed to idols’ names and they were to blend in with the requirements placed upon them by their new king. Yet, they were able to keep their true identities because they were strong in the Lord. They knew where they came from and where they were headed; they were truly focused on what matters.
In essence, you could change their clothes, put them in a foreign, godless country, make them slaves to a system, change their names – but their hearts still belonged to God. They were so focused that all these things didn’t distract them from being God’s servants first and foremost before offering faithful service to an earthly king.
They showed true character without compromising their values. However, we all know that these decisions placed them in a hot situation. There they were with the entire world pretty much gathered to honor King Neb., all told to bow down to a man-made idol representing his greatness. The entire world driven by fear and compromise – or even just blinded – all bowed down.
But there they stood…unrelenting and immovable; you could not miss them. They will only bow to their heavenly Father, and they were tested in a massive way. Yet- they were honored for their faith and dedication and the result was a miracle – Jesus joined them in the fire! This shows that He is true to His word; He is loving towards His servants and mighty to save. However, it is important to note that their hearts were right with God; whether He saved them or not, they still would not relent and bow down. These were three heavenly-focused guys!
“O, Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” – Daniel 3: 16b – 18 (NKJV)
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had to bow before a king who rules the world and then threatened with a fire if I don’t cooperate, but aren’t we also in some fiery situations sometimes?
Maybe never so extreme, but we are tested too. Their dedication and faith made them fearless to man’s threats because they knew where their help comes from; they didn’t need approval from man because they had God’s approval for doing His will.
Another worthy point to take note of is that the king had them bound before he threw them into the fire – yet while they were in the fire, the bonds were loosened and they were freed. When we are following God, and make choices that honor Him, we are freed from man’s ideas and focused on God’s ideals rather than being bound by a system that the world is drawn to.
““Look!”, he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire’ and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”” – Daniel 3: 25 (NKJV)
So, fix your focus and set your eyes on what’s above and eternal instead of being caught up with what’s here below. Be brave and make daring decisions to honor our King!
“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!” – Daniel 3: 28 (NKJV)