The Fear Of Being Different
Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your[c] food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
Most of us just want to live out our lives in peace and go basically unnoticed by the government. However, as Christians, there may be times that we are specifically called to step up and be noticed for our differences. Jesus specifically states that his disciples will go before rulers (political leaders) and important people and to be prepared to hear from the Holy Spirit as to how to respond and what to say (Matt 10:19). Nearly in the same breath, Jesus says that if we deny him before humankind that he will deny us before the Father (Matt 10:32-33). Although it is not reasonable for Christians to expect to have those outside of God’s family live with biblical values, it is imperative that we stand up for our own values and be prepared to explain why we insist on living with the moral absolutes with which we live. Standing up for our right to live goldy lives, however, will take a tremendous amount of courage and will require that we have a solid foundation in our knowledge of the Judeo-Christian God. Knowing God does not happen by osmosis or emotional imagination. It means really digging into the Scriptures with the sole purpose of knowing God intimately.
We must understand that the LORD of all creation only has our best interest in mind, as he is the one who knows how he created every cell in our body. In case you have not noticed, the world has become very dark and hostile toward the things of God. In antiquity, God’s people suffered persecution because they would not bow down to their rulers and acknowledge them as gods. In postmodernity, God’s people are being persecuted for their very thoughts, because they are a constant reminder of moral absolutes and the world hates that. It also means that the community of monotheistic faith that is based on the Bible, see the Creator as the final authority over all political leaders, and that poses a threat to those in authority who want to rule over the human spirit. God continually gives us examples in scripture that will be relatable to our current dilemmas in life. When Daniel was told that he needed to assimilate into the ways of the Babylonian culture, he respectfully refused and requested alternate provisions in order not to defile himself. We too need to take heed in our own day and age that we are called to be different and should not give in to the ways of the culture in an effort to try and blend in. Daniel recognized that compromising in one area will lead to compromise in other areas. Changes are gradual and many times seem harmless, but the more we succumb to the ways of the world, the further we drift from the Father.
Christians have everything to offer this world. We should be the most ethical, honest, and hard-working people that the world has ever seen, because we should be doing everything as unto the LORD (Col. 3:22). We should bring comfort and discernment to the hurting and confused. If we are walking with Jesus, we hold the keys to eternal life, which is the hope that people need to hear about. If, however, we are so comingled with the culture, or fearful of speaking up about our biblical values, how will those around us ever see that there is another way, a better way to live. I look around and I see fear in the actions and the eyes of people everywhere I go. This is a contrived fear that is imposed on humanity by those in positions of great power. A power that is derived from satanic forces. Instilling fear in the minds of people is tool of control, that does not stem from the God of the Bible. Many Christians do not know how to speak up about the mass murder of the unborn, or the newest dilemma of gender dysphoria. Two decades ago the church stood by and allowed the government to bully it into a corner when it came to helping the sexually and emotionally abused who turned to diverse lifestyles. These are the very same churches that have now bowed to the gods of this world as they dictate when a church community can or cannot meet and what parts of the Bible they can or cannot read. It is shameful!
There are ways of speaking up, there are ways of respectfully letting people know where you stand on moral issues, and there are ways of saying no. The arguments given by the world usually do not make sense because they do not follow the line of logic given to us by God. Many times that is intentional to cause confusion. Confusion and lies are not from God, nor is fear, they are from Satan (John 8:43-45; Gal. 1:6-8) and used to control you. So next time you are given the opportunity to take a stand for the things of God when confronted with the ways of the world, ask yourself; does this make sense (is it coherent) and does the argument put forth follow a line of logic and reason? We serve a God who is logical and does not intentionally cause confusion, especially in the form of deception, he will give you a different way of seeing dilemmas that the god of this world wants to keep marred in murky unstable ground.