Thursday, March 24, 2011

Compromise

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            by James Kanaganayagam                


What pleases God?  Acts of charity, service to the saints, sacrificial giving, walking by faith.  All this pleases God.  The Bible tells us, all our actions should be done by faith as this pleases God (Heb. 11:6).


This article looks at the life of three men whose faith in God lived out in their life brought glory to God.

Daniel chapter 3 tells us the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego whose faith in God was such that compromise was no option in their lives.


Compromise was no option (v. 12)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were deported to Babylon in 660 BC with Daniel.  They were noblemen from Judah who were intelligent, good looking and had great leadership abilities.  Nebuchadnezzar the greatest king of Babylon, who was ruling at that time, made Daniel the ruler of the province of Babylon which was the capital province.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were doing well in Babylon.  They had good jobs, wealth and power, as the heads of administration of the capital province.  They also had the potential of rising higher since they believed in the living God who could bless them, they were intelligent and capable, and they also had friends in higher places.  Daniel was in the king’s presence, but during this time of prosperity and potential of doing better, king Nebuchadnezzar built a 90 foot tall golden image of himself and ordered everyone to bow down to it.  The three Jews had a choice to make.  Their choice showed their strong faith.

The men did not bow down to the golden image or the other Babylonian gods and thus showed that in their faith, compromise was no option (v.12).


They could have bowed to the image and said, “We didn’t worship it” or they could have said “Since it’s only once, it’s alright, or “God will understand the pressure we are under” but they didn’t.  They did not compromise and this pleased God.   Is our faith one where compromise is not an option?  We, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, are prospering and have the potential of rising higher.  Would we, as a church compromise if our prosperity and safety was at stake?

I was told of a Christian man, who when he joined a new firm was given the task of getting a telephone connection in record time.  He was also given money to bribe the telecom.  As a Christian he knew he could not bribe and he told his boss that.  To this his boss told him that if he didn’t get that line on time, he would be fired.  This man was in a dilemma. He refused to compromise though his job was at stake and God performed a miracle by getting the telephone line on time even without bribing anyone.  Because of this man’s faith that did not compromise, God glorified Himself.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego’s faith was not only one that did not compromise, but it was also one that was not influenced by circumstances.  Therefore, secondly, a faith that glorifies God is a faith where:

Circumstances are not the deciding factor (vs. 16-18)

Nebuchadnezzar challenged the God of the Jews and the three men replied him saying that God would deliver them.  Though God could deliver them, they say in these key verses that, “even if He didn’t save them, they would still remain faithful to Him.”  Their faith was not determined by their circumstances or whether God would save them or not.  I am sure they knew of Pharaoh’s challenge to God in Exodus 5:2 and how God proved to Pharaoh, His greatness and superiority.  They knew that their God would prove Himself to Nebuchadnezzar too, but whatever their lot was going to be, they were going to be faithful to God.  Their faith was not determined by their circumstances.

Today many Christians, even those who have been in the faith for many years, have up and down spiritual lives.  When things are going well around them, their faith is strong, but when things are gloomy, their faith is shaken and sometimes ruined.

I’m not saying Christians should not be affected by things in life.  Romans 12:15 says “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”  There are times when we are troubled, sad and weep, and there are times when things go well and we are happy.  But our happiness or sadness should not be the deciding factor of our faith.

A young girl said, “I don’t believe in God anymore.”  When asked why, she replied, “I prayed that God would make me 5’ 5” but I’m only 5’ 2”.  Does unanswered prayer determine our faith?

God is so good, we say when the picnic went off well and the weather was fine.  But what happens if the weather was bad and the picnic a disaster?  Does it mean that God is not good?  Circumstances do not determine the goodness of God.

Do circumstances determine our faith?  This is what the prophet Habakkuk says in Habakkuk 3:17-18.  A faith that glorifies God is a faith where circumstances are not a deciding factor.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego’s faith which was not determined by their circumstances, led them into a deeper faith which glorifies God, a faith which completely surrendered to God.

Complete surrender is the climax

Since Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego refused to deny or compromise their faith king Nebuchadnezzar, in a rage, commanded them to be burned.   They allowed themselves to be tied up and thrown into the fire, without any resistance.  They could have backed out but they didn’t.  After all, what’s the point in leaving everything you can see and dying for something you cannot even see?  But the faith that completely surrendered was the faith that brought the greatest glory to God.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were willing to give up their very lives, for their faith.  Their faith caused them to go all the way; they didn’t stop short even when their lives were at stake.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego’s faith was a faith that glorified God, a faith where complete surrender was the climax.

We who don’t share Christ because of the fear of what our friends say, how far short we fall.  We do have a faith worth dying for.  Therefore, let’s ask God to strengthen our faith as we completely surrender to Him right now.

This is the faith that brings the highest glory to God, for in the fire, we see not only Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, but we also see the pre-incarnate Christ or an angel of the Lord with them.  Though they were in Babylon, God was with them during their suffering and we can be assured that even today God is with us, wherever we are, when we are suffering for Him.

 The faith that completely surrendered culminated (resulted) with glory to God, as God miraculously saved them.

Faith culminated with glory to God vv. 28-29

The stand of faith made by Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego culminated (resulted) in glory to God.  Nebuchadnezzar, the man who blasphemed God saying, “Who is the god that can deliver you,” now blessed God.  He also spread the news of what God had done.  He was so impressed by what God had done, that he made the penalty of saying something against God, worse than that of not bowing to his image.  Because of the faith of Shadrach Meshach and Abed-Nego, Nebuchadnezzar’s subjects, all over the world, heard about the living God.  God was glorified.

Mr. James Kanaganayagam
The actions of our faith either bring glory to God or dishonour.  The faith that glorified God was one where compromising was no option, circumstances were not the deciding factor and where complete surrender was the climax. CL

(Mr. James Kanaganayagam is the CEO of Back to the Bible International, Lincoln, Nebraska, U S A)

Source:
Confident Living Magazine, (A Back to the Bible Publication, printed and published from Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India)



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