Epic war movies fascinate me. You’re a soldier, wondering how you’ll defeat an army of enemies that is twice your size, and stronger. All hope seems lost. You want to turn back and go home. Everyone wants to turn back. Morale is at an all-time low. But then, a leader steps up, and, in the most eloquent display of motivational oratory, reminds the tired men why they are fighting.
Fight for honour! Fight for your country! Fight for your wives! Fight for your children!
He reminds them the values they would gladly give their lives for. In no time, there are screams of excitement among the tired men, and they’re ready to give it one last push with their last breaths. They know they may never return home. They have values and ideals they really wish to live for, but are also willing to die for if necessary.
That’s faith, really. A conviction that will be held unwaveringly to the death.
If you’re not willing to pay the ultimate price, it remains to be seen if you are true to the confession of your faith. To claim to have faith is easy. The life we live from then on is the proof of our claim. And daily, demands will be made on us that will cause us to display this faith or deny it.
Faith is hard for Christians. We live in the world, a place that stifles faith. Besides, the internal mechanism of self-preservation causes us to avoid controversies and problems by just watering down our beliefs for that period or even for ever. Why? We don’t want to die. We don’t want to be fired. We don’t want to be disliked. We don’t want to face the consequences. We fear the immediate problems we will face, rather than the God we claim to worship. Our picture of God is often of a loving cuddly bear that we can offend but run back to later. So we often choose to offend Him in favour of the circumstance we face here.
Let’s play it safe here. We can always ask God for forgiveness later. He’ll understand, surely.
But Daniel did not change his schedule because an edict was proclaimed outlawing prayer to God for a period of time. He knew of the unfair, new rule. He most probably knew it was designed by his enemies to bring his downfall. He didn’t relax and say, “oh well, it’s just for a few days. I’ll chill out”. He didn’t even go out to lead a protest against the change. He surely would have had supporters. He was Daniel! I mean, this was an infringement of his right to freedom of religion. But he knew that would be a function of fear. He had made his decision a long time ago, and he wasn’t ready to be put at the mercy of a king just to practice his faith. So, he didn’t need public outcry. He was ready for the consequences, in good faith literally.
Honouring God was far more important than leading a protest just to have his way.The Hebrew boys put it better. Nebuchadnezzar had all of a sudden realised he should be worshipped and caused a huge statue of himself built. Everyone was to bow to it. The Hebrew boys were respectfully defiant. After they failed the first time to bow to the golden image, the King approached them, and offered to give them a retrial.
“Boys, I’m merciful. So I’ll give you one more try, yunno? Just now this time, okay? Wouldn’t want to waste you boys in the fire”.
The boys were respectful in their response. Count how many times in Daniel 3 they kept addressing Nebuchadnezzar respectfully. They didn’t hate him, or fight him, or despise him. They recognised the authority of the king, especially as their captors. But nothing would make them reconsider an act that just meant disobeying their God. Their faith in God was something they lived for, but were willing to die for. And so the King’s mercy meant nothing to them. They didn’t need it.
Nebuchadnezzar was not furious because they merely refused to bow. It was because they had no fear of him, and did not need his mercy. To deny a King’s mercy is directly saying he has no power over your life. And so they were not at the mercy of the King. Their lives were not for him to do as he pleased.
They got the Matthew 10:28 exposé. They saw his physical power, yet chose to trust in an invisible God, and they didn’t care if He saved them from the punishment, or not.
In their minds… “Gentlemen, tonight we dine in heaven!” Ahu!
We as Christians today should examine the things that cause us to compromise our faith. The little lies we tell just to get out of a situation. The little pornography just to ease our short-lived desires. The watering down the truth of God’s holy Word just to make people like us and stick around…
We all know.
It is time to re-examine our claims to faith in God. Is it something we can live and die for? It’s not compulsory if we cannot die for it. After all, many are called… If you get it, you get it. Thing is, in most places today, Christianity is in fashion. But we must ask ourselves if we will really stick around and proclaim this faith when Christianity becomes out-of-fashion in this world. Trust me, it’s only a matter of time.
BY MAFOLABOMI OLUSEYI
What is making you compromise your faith in God? What exactly waters down your Christianity? When this way of life gets out-of-fashion, would you still stick around? Let us step up, higher and be unwavering faith to death. One we can live and die for. Let’s be like soldiers who have reasons and values to give a fight their last breath. Follow our social media pages for more edifying contents (facebook.com/gospelarenagl, twitter and IG: @gospelarenagl).