We will not waver; we will not tire; we will not falter, and we will not fail. (George W Bush)
In the midst of everything around us changing, talks of a new world order, one world currency, the stage is being set for the entrance of the antichrist. Can we echo those famous words of George W Bush, when it comes to our relationship with Christ, and our worship unto Jesus?
When pressure mounts and your life is demanded from you for your belief and your love for Jesus, how would you react?
Daniel 1: 1, 3-4
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 3 Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, 4 young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and [b]literature of the Chaldeans.
1.A worldly new normal
In the book of Daniel, we find that the nation of Israel was conquered by the Babylonians and they were taken into captivity into Babylon. Included in this group was four young men, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego. They were forced into something that was the new normal, a normal that would include uncertain times, difficulties and even persecution.
The life that they had lived was now becoming something of the past, they were in a place where things were about to change so fast, that if not handled in the correct way could lead to disastrous consequences. You see, they were now in what we would call enemy territory, and when you find yourself in enemy territory and your life is put in danger and you have to make decisions as to what to do and you face the prospect of death, how would you and I handle it.
Right now, everyone in the world is talking about the new normal. What exactly is this new normal. The corona virus has put the world on a knives edge, everyone is in panic, how we live our lives, were we go, what we do all of this has now changed. One day we have freedom, being able to visit family and friends, being able to enjoy the company of fellow believers, and in the twinkling of an eye all of it has changed, its now all about social distancing, wearing masks, staying at home, not being able to work. That is how quickly things can change.
Like with the nation of Israel, the new normal that has gripped the world, has brought complete disruption to our lives. There is fear, we are uncertain about what will happen.
1 Thessalonians 5:3 (NKJV)
For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
The problem with the new normal, is that if we allow it to dictate our spiritual lives, then it begins to affect our worship unto God. We need to be careful that we do not allow our worship to be determined by the state of the world and what the world says is expected of us. Don’t get me wrong today, I am not saying that we should be reckless, and disregard the laws of the countries that we live in, but what I am saying today, is that while we have the laws that we need to adhere to, it should never determine and change the way we worship God and coming to the point of full surrender unto God.
When our way of life gets threatened, when our relationship with God is placed on the “chopping block” and you need to make the all-important decision, what would you choose?
2.Conforming vs Transforming
In the life of Daniel & his friends, a new season was unfolding. They were no longer in a place where they could freely worship Jehovah, where they could call their home. Life as they knew it was potentially over. The new normal had taken over.
When placed into a situation where your way of life is taken away from you, what do you do. How do you live and serve God in a new normal, how does a new way of life that the world has now manufactured, affect you and your relationship with God? In a world that is fast changing, many people believe that conforming to the standards of the world is the only way.
Daniel and his friends understood that they could trust God, no matter how circumstances around them changed, no matter how much the Nebuchadnezzar threw at them. It didn’t matter how tough life became, their confidence was in God, who ultimately was in control.
The battle we face as believers in a world that is fast changing, is whether we conform or transform.
Romans 12:2 (GNT)
Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God–what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.
Paul tell us that we should not become conformed or become imitators of the world but rather we should allow ourselves to be changed, and it starts with the mind. Our mind needs to be renewed.
Daniel understood that and he didn’t allow his mind to be held hostage by the current situation the new normal of Babylon. He surrendered to God, he allowed to God to be God and to take control.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
When faced with the issue of compromise and following the law of man and worshipping idols. Daniel had to make a choice, on whether to stop praying to God or allow God to take control. Daniel stood his ground. Although he was in the middle of a new normal in the eyes of the world, he was beginning to create a new normal for himself, he was changing the dynamics of his relationship with God. He was changing the way he thought, surrendering his mind to God, and standing on the rock that is Jehovah God.
That is the transformation that needs to take place in each one of us, when we are faced with an ever changing world, a world that will eventually dictate who we are to worship, when worshipping Jesus, becomes a crime, what will we do. Daniel and his three friends allowed themselves to be transformed through the renewing of their minds, what will we do when placed in that situation.
3.A Spiritual new normal
Daniel and his three friends made a decision, to surrender to God, to allow God to take control. No matter what the king threw at them they were not willing to compromise.
Things grew worse in the new normal of the Israelites. Daniel was thrown into a lion’s den, surely this was the end for Daniel, there was no way out, no secret door, no protection. But guess what, God was on his side -:
Daniel 6:19-22 (GW)
19 At dawn, as soon as it was light, the king got up and quickly went to the lions’ den. 20 As he came near the den where Daniel was, the king called to Daniel with anguish in his voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was God, whom you always worship, able to save you from the lions?”
21 Daniel said to the king, “Your Majesty, may you live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they couldn’t hurt me. He did this because he considered me innocent. Your Majesty, I haven’t committed any crime.”
That is the power of God, that can save us from the snare of the fowler, from deadly pestilence, from the enemy, from any danger, as the Psalmist David says in Psalm 91 – “if you make the Lord God your most high”
If you think that was great, watch what God does when Daniels three friends are thrown into the furnace-:
Daniel 3:16-18, 21-25 (GW)
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “We don’t need to answer your last question. 17 If our God, whom we honour, can save us from a blazing furnace and from your power, he will, Your Majesty. 18 But if he doesn’t, you should know, Your Majesty, we’ll never honour your gods or worship the gold statue that you set up.”
21 Then the three men were thrown into the blazing furnace. They were wearing their clothes, hats, and other clothing. 22 The king’s orders were so urgent and the furnace was so extremely hot that the men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were killed by the flames from the fire. 23 So these three men—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—fell into the blazing furnace. They were still tied up.
24 Then Nebuchadnezzar was startled. He sprang to his feet. He asked his advisers, “Didn’t we throw three men into the fire?”
“That’s true, Your Majesty,” they answered.
25 The king replied, “But look, I see four men. They’re untied, walking in the middle of the fire, and unharmed. The fourth one looks like a son of the gods.
That is the power of the True & Living God, the three friends did not allow their minds to be swayed, they were prepared to worship God, even if it meant their deaths. Even at the point of facing death, they were not willing to bow down and worship idols.
Where do we stand today, when faced with the challenges of this world, are we willing to continue worshipping and praising God, even if our lives are on the line.
- Paul & Silas in prison, continued to worship and praise God, even when they were bound in chains.
- Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when was about to be taken ti be crucified, wads still obedient to the Father, when he said, “Father not my will be done but yours”
- Stephen – was stoned and right up to his death he was worshipping God.
We can allow our minds to be moulded by the new normal of the world, or we can allow our minds to be renewed, creating a new normal in our lives. A normal that no matter what happens, we will not waiver, we not faint, we will not stop worshipping and praising the only true and living God, Jesus Christ.
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