I’ve received too many such requests recently. Breadwinners feel the pressure of providing for their families. Hundreds of thousands of our military face the possibility of being court-martialed and dishonorably discharged. The pressure and stress is eating some alive. Are you in a situation that’s forcing you to choose between your convictions and something you value—like a paycheck?
How important is it to live by our convictions? Does the Bible offer guidelines for those being pressured to violate their consciences? Whether the pressure comes from an employer or a family member, the Bible offers help.
Four Brave Youths Live by Their Convictions
The book of Daniel provides several examples of choosing faith over safety or security. In chapter one, four Hebrew youths determined they would not defile their bodies with the king’s food.
But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8 NASB).
Daniel “made up his mind,” then he sought permission. He didn’t know if he’d receive permission, but he knew he wouldn’t eat the king’s food.
After being tested, the four received exemption from the king’s menu and received a special diet of vegetables. The next tests would come with higher stakes.
Comply or Die
In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar erected a golden idol and commanded his subjects to bow before it or be thrown into a blazing fire. The band played, everyone hit the floor—everyone except Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. (Daniel must have been in another part of the country at the time.)
King Nebuchadnezzar provided one more chance.
‘If you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?’
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, 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’” (Dan. 3:16-18 NIV).
Furious, King Nebuchadnezzar demanded the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. The heat killed the guards who tossed the bound Hebrews into the fire. But the story wasn’t over!
Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, ‘Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?’
They replied, ‘Certainly, Your Majesty.’
He said, ‘Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods’” (Dan. 3:24-25 NIV).
Four strolled through the same fire that had killed the guards. Who was the fourth?
While we prefer life easy, trials strengthen our faith (Jas. 1:2-8). Faithfulness in small areas builds our faith muscles to stand under severe testing—and we experience Jesus. The fourth man was the preincarnate Christ!
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked away unharmed. Their clothes didn’t even smell of smoke. And Nebuchadnezzar saw God.
Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon” (Dan. 3:30 NIV).
Live to Please One
Romans 14 says,
If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Rom. 14:8 NIV).
Jesus said no one can serve both God and money (Matt. 6:24). Compromising our God-given convictions to please a boss is like bowing before a golden idol. If we violate our beliefs in one area, how will we stand in bigger tests? And if we comply, what new demand will surface?Compromising our God-given #convictions to please a boss is like bowing before a golden idol. If we violate our beliefs in one area, how will we stand in bigger tests? #Refreshingfaith Click To Tweet
You may feel like you’re on trial when holding to your beliefs violates their demands. But your test is whether you’ll trust and obey God. Once you determine to follow God, your path will become clear. You see, bigger issues are at stake. You are on assignment to bring Christ to a dying world.
Your convictions reveal Jesus to others. God is empowering you to represent Him and watching how they treat you. How they treat you shows what they think of Him (Matt. 10:40; Jn. 15:21). And He’s promised to bless those who bless His children and to curse those who curse them (Gen. 12:3). How you treat them shows how well you know Him.
No one can serve two masters, so determine to serve Jesus. When we make it our ambition to please Him, the fog disperses. The next step appears, and He walks with us. Obeying God may be costly. But disobeying Him costs more.
Obeying God may be costly. But disobeying Him costs more. #faith, #RefreshingFaith Click To Tweet
But even if you should suffer for doing what is right, how happy you are! Do not be afraid of anyone, and do not worry. But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honor him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, but do it with gentleness and respect. Keep your conscience clear, so that when you are insulted, those who speak evil of your good conduct as followers of Christ will become ashamed of what they say. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if this should be God’s will, than for doing evil” (1 Pet. 3:14-17 GNT).
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