Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Enormity of Non-Conformity

I'm teaching Bible School this week, and we are learning about the prophet Daniel.  You know, Daniel and his three friends (Hannaiah (Shadrach),  Meshael (Mesach) and Azariah (Abenego)) really were amazing men.  As I meditated on our scripture for tonight, I was stricken by how strong their faith in and commitment to God was.  

Here they are, prisoners who have been captured in a babylonian raid on Jerusalem.  Life couldn't be any more different for them than if they had been captured and taken to live on Mars.  First, these are very young men!  They didn't believe in the same God as the babylonians, they didn't eat the same kinds of food they didn't drink the same wine, and they didn't have the same type of customs. 

From the minute they were taken captive, they settled it in their minds and heart (the Bible says that they "purposed it" in their hearts) that they would not conform to the lives of the babylonians.  They continued to pray to the One True God (three times a day), they asked to be excused from eating and drinking the food and wine of their captors, and yet they had to assimilate into society in some ways because scripture tells us that Daniel became a favorite of the King's head eunuch, Ashpenaz and that eventually, they "communed" with the king himself.

How would you respond if today you were captured by an invading army from a foreign country, would you be able to keep yourself from conforming to their demands of you in the face of torture and/or death?   Foxes Book of Martyrs tells of how followers of Christ were martyred by being boiled in oil and also had their skin ripped off their bodies.  There are lots of dastardly ways that followers of Christ were martyred by, but these two seem the worst to me.  When I imagine myself being tortured, these are the two I use.  Revelation 20:4 tells us that in the last days followers of Jesus will lose their heads because of their testimony of Him:

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Political correctness has overtaken the world.  In my opinion, this is one way in which the whole world has taken to conforming.   Everyone wants to be kind, fair, and they certainly don't want to appear racist, bigoted and prejudicial in any way, so they revert to political correctness in touchy situations instead of speaking truth.

It's easy (and almost expected) these days to conform.   Joe gets a cell phone; and so Bob needs one.  Sally gets her nails done professionally; so her friend Kathy starts getting her nails done.  Kids are the worst!  They always want what their friends have or want to do what they are doing.  So,  being non-conforming is enormous!

God made us all as individuals. If He had wanted a bunch of clones, I'm sure He could have produced them.  We should all investigate and look thoroughly before we leap into the pile of muck called conformity, and if we need to stand by ourselves for or against something that God has convicted us about, then He will be there to see us through it.  Just think about Daniel and his three friends.  They faced man-eating lions and fires so hot you were killed just opening the door of the furnace.  Shouldn't steadfastness like theirs be our goal?  We don't know what we will face in the future, but it certainly doesn't look promising given the way Christianity is looked down upon these days. 

Father,  I pray for your people.  We sense that harsh and trying days are ahead of us.  Please give us a full measure of your spirit and enable us to stand for the things you want us to stand for and to stand against those things you want us to stand against.  Be our strength, our strong tower and our place of refuge.  I pray that even now, while we are relatively safe, that you will begin to build our faith so that when and if we are called out because of our faith in you, we can bring glory and honor to your name.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Kim, I just wrote down the prayer and am going to pray it word for word from now on every morning during my devotional time. blessings to you as we prepare for dark days ahead!