Why is it more important to go along with the culture of the world than the culture of the Kingdom?
During this past week I found myself in the word of God and reading the stories of four amazing men of God in the book of Daniel. The stories came from a world not too dissimilar to ours. One characterised by a strong pull to idols, other gods and distractions that were more about building up possessions on the earth rather than in the storing up of ‘real’ treasures in heaven (Mark Chapter 12, verse 34).
The three that took a stand
One of the stories was about three young men in a crowd of thousands who stood firm for their God when it was very likely that they would lose their lives because of this stand. In the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, we find three amazing men who stood for their God of Israel in the face of the most powerful King of the Babylonian empire, Nebuchadnezzar.
Faced with the choice to pledge their allegiance to this earthly king or the real King and despite the adversity and the pressure of the crowd these three brave men stood defiant against the culture that was around them.
This outraged the king as he gazed over the crowd to see the three men standing and as a result wanted to embarrass them and the God they stood for. His show of power was to put the three to death for they were going against his command.
The story goes on to reveal that these three men stand out not as fools but as heroes of the faith. They pledged their allegiance to God and his ways to the point of death as they are thrown into Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery torture furnace, only to walk away unscathed. This story can be found in chapter 3 of the book of Daniel and it certainly is a confronting challenge if we would do the same.
The actions of these men showed to me that the most important relationship to them was the one with their God at all costs. It showed me their relationship was real and they knew their God. They knew that while the situation suggested that there was another god in town, the one they stood firm for was the one and only God to be revered and honoured.
The current state of our world
I am alarmed by the trend of the world which is moving further away from God and the ways of the Kingdom. The television, the newspapers, and social media are filled with agendas contrary to the Kingdom.
This by definition from the word of God is sin. Paul wrote that when we follow this path of sin, the result is not being embraced in the Kingdom but is actually death. (Romans Chapter 6, verse 23).
Not a day that goes by when the homosexual agenda isn’t pushed. There is not a day where God’s gift of marriage and purity isn’t dragged through the mud. There is not a day when the agendas of gender issues other than God’s design are made prominent in the world’s media.
Unfortunately this is the world culture at present and I am extremely concerned with how our response is to go along with this culture rather than to confront it with the way we live and act in our daily lives as followers of Jesus. We need to stand up for the same God that those three brave men stood for back in that day in Babylon.
It seems to me that the Church’s response is not so much to take a stand, but rather to find a way to bow down with the culture and current of the world. It seems to me that we are more concerned and fearful about what the world thinks of us over that of what God has set us apart to stand up for.
A modern day stand
This past week a great saint passed on to glory and it made worldwide news. His name was Billy Graham and from seeing the clips flash up this week I discovered that his message was one that was not about going along with the current and trying to be tolerant. Instead it was about taking a stand against sin and calling us to repentance. Even in his last words he presented a strong message to respond to God and his Kingdom.
This man, just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, knew his God and he knew that to have reverence for His God and his ways was more important than to be popular in the world. His death presented a reality that we all face: do we want to risk being sucked out in the current of the world and miss out on what God has for us in eternity? Do we want to be able to say on our last day, just as Billy Graham said, when you hear of my death don’t believe it, I am just at another address.
I think as the day draws near to our King returning to the earth and the realities of eternity on our doorstep we need to ask ourselves are we going to stand up or bow down?
Justin is married to his beautiful wife and together they pursue being his Kingdom agents through their intentional Jesus community house in Glenelg. Justin is also a prophetic artist under the label JR Faith Creations as well is pursuing a career in the entertainment industry with his new studies in VFX and digital illustration at university. He is a lover of surfing and anything adventurous.