Have you considered unfriending a few people recently? I think my mood goes from happy to miserable every time I check my newsfeed and it's not because of the countless memes I have to sort through either.
As I've been observing the hot button issues of our world I have wondered: where do we fit in. Whether we're talking about abortion, gay marriage, immigration, Starbucks cups, taking prayer out of schools or saying Merry Christmas over Happy Holidays the church needs to know how to respond and how not to respond to these types of issues.
When it comes to living a faithful life to God in a different culture I can think of no one better than Daniel. Daniel is the perfect example of a man after God's own heart who thrived in a community that wasn't his own under a government that wasn't his own that worshipped a god that wasn't his own. So what was the secret to Daniel's success in Babylon?
Daniel was more concerned with his personal integrity than those around him.
Daniel 1:8-21 tells us how Daniel refused to eat of the king's food in order to show the power of his God. He didn't mandate everyone around him to prescribe to his way of doing things, he simply did what he thought God wanted him to do. When it comes to moral issues in today's world it's not our job to educate every person on how God expects His children to behave, it's our job to remain faithful to what God expects of us. If a law actively keeps us from obeying God then we need to prioritize God's law over man's, but we cannot legislate morality for everyone.
Daniel respected the authority God put in place.
Daniel 6 shows us how Daniel worked hard for the king even though the king didn't honor his God. Daniel worked so hard that he was going to be put in charge of the entire kingdom. I can't imagine working for any king of Babylon in Daniel's day knowing that they were evil men but Daniel honored the king. There is a fine line between free speech and disrespect in today's culture and I have seen both in the church. Romans 13 tells us to honor and respect the ruling governments that are over us. As the church we need to be careful what we say and how we say it. The time for posting Facebook statuses without thinking twice is over because someone who says how they feel regardless of who it affects is much like a child with no self-control.
Daniel 6:10 says that Daniel prayed three times a day. He knew that the only way God's power and glory were going to be revealed to the people around him was to ask the Lord. We cannot reason with an unbeliever and an argument won is a relationship lost. We need to pray for people to truly know God. That is the only way transformation and renewal will happen in our country and world. God doesn't redeem countries or governments, he doesn't love communities he loves people. God will not save the U.S. without saving the people who reside in it.
Next time we think that this nation has gone to hell in a hand basket could we consider that it's not them that needs to change but us? The Christmas season is not about your right to say Merry Christmas or to have a specific logo on your cup it's about a God who loved people so much that He sent His son to die for them. God deserved to have His son stay with Him in heaven but He didn't care about entitlement, he just cared for us.
Pastor Levi Owens, Associate Pastor