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Doing Life Together

ID-100363164Do you ever feel like you are a minority when it comes to your values and world view? Does it feel like you live in a toxic culture, constantly pounding away at the very things you value and are of eternal significance?

I was reminded this week that young biblical Daniel had to live in a culture counter to his beliefs. He was taken away from his home and exiled in Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar did everything in his power to change Daniel to his image. He changed his name, schooled him and had him live among the best and brightest of Babylonian culture. The hope was that Daniel would forsake his Hebrew roots and become a rising Babylonian star, serving the gods of his new kingdom.

But Daniel wasn’t persuaded and stood strong when it came to his values and beliefs. He humbly and respectfully asked to opt out of food and drink from the King’s table. Why? He didn’t want to be dependent on the king for anything including his health and welfare. In the middle of a toxic culture, Daniel stood on principles and believed that God had not abandoned him despite the opposition he faced. But he didn’t do it thorough protests, criticizing the king or insulting people. He simply stood firm on his values and treated those who disagreed with respect.

The message of Daniel 1: God is present even when it doesn’t look like He is, is an important reminder for all of us in these troubling days! Daniel could have easily believed that God had abandoned him in exile as he lived among the heathens. He could have given in to the toxic cultural influences. Instead, Daniel was completely dependent on the Lord. He refused to adapt the thinking of those trying to pull him away from his values. He stayed strong in the Lord.

There is a lesson here for us all. When we feel the toxic pull of the culture that is inconsistent with our world view and values, when the culture tries to co-opt our thinking, and appears to be “winning” the culture wars, we need to remember, God hasn’t left us. He is faithful and still by our side, helping us in times of difficulty. God wants our total dependence on Him.

As we navigate our post Christian culture, take a lesson from Daniel–God hasn’t left. He is ever present, equipping us to stand strong and influence those around us. Like David, be humble, respectful in your stance, but expect God to act on your behalf.

 

 

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