Holiness, holiness, holiness. It’s been a theme this past season. Reading about Daniel at BSF this week emphasized to me what Ms. A always says:
“We cannot afford to compromise!”
Not even the tiniest bit. We cannot tolerate ANY semblance of sin in our lives.
Throughout Daniel, we see that God responds to Daniel’s faithfulness. He would take a step of faith FIRST, then trust that God would back him up. With the food of Babylon, he requested the special diet first telling the authorities that he would appear healthier than the others who compromised, then he let God back him up. With Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he told Arioch he would have the interpretation, then he gathered his friends to cry out to God for the dream. And with Darius’ decree, he acted first by praying blatantly to his God, then let God rescue him from the lion’s den.
Daniel boldly and blatantly took steps of faith without even knowing if God would really come through. And God did each time.
God responds to faith. Faith and obedience without compromise.
Then last night, to add to everything that we studied and everything that’s been on my mind, Kenny was listening to a sermon by Christine Caine (I know, this is AFTER we already spent the whole night at BSF) and she was saying this:
“As Christians we are called to be in the world, but not of it. Yet so often we are of the world, but not in it! We cannot be a light to the world if we’re not in it and we cannot be a light to the world if we look just like it.”
This was so good and so convicting. We cannot expect to save the world if we won’t venture into it and are stuck in our holy huddles shining our light on people who already have it. And we also cannot expect to save the world if we’re living just like everyone else in it.
Daniel refused to compromise even a tiny bit. It struck me that with Darius’ decree he could have just prayed with the curtains closed or hid out for 30 days. That’s probably what the other Israelites did because we didn’t see them getting thrown into the den (though they weren’t targeted either). He could’ve been like the rest of the young Israelite men and eaten the food of the Babylonians when they were first exiled there. Yet Daniel would not be defiled!! He would not give in and look like the rest of the world! And as Gina said last night, it’s because of this radical life of obedience that God was able to shine His light through Daniel into a secular world.
I want to be like Jesus in every way possible. But it’s so hard. It’s so easy to make small compromises. So what if I have a complaining heart about work? I only complain in my mind and to my husband. What’s the big deal? Or so what if I tolerate a little bit of lust? It’s in secret. It’s private. It doesn’t impact anyone else. Or does it? Or so what if I’m lazy at work? I work hard at other times. I get my work done. Why does it matter?
Part of faith is taking God at His Word and believing that even if we don’t see the negative consequences of sin (because a lot of times I really can’t see why sin is so bad) there are negative impacts and I will choose to slay even the tiniest of violations of His Word and trust Him. And if I want more of His presence in my life, then how can I tolerate anything, ANYTHING!! that He says will get in the way of my communion with Him?!?!
If I am at all serious about Jesus, I will be serious about my sin.
I will be serious about fleeing from it and surrendering every area of my life (my thoughts, my speech, my actions) to Him.
And God is working on my heart. Just last week (can’t remember if I already blogged this) I was TOTALLY in the flesh and ranting to Kenny about work. My heart was filled with complaints and I poured them out to him indiscriminately because hey it’s my right to say whatever’s on my mind right? And he’s a strong Christian. He can take my complaining and it won’t stumble him and it’s not like he works with me right? But after I finished my mini tirade, I felt some serious conviction of the Holy Spirit and I felt so much remorse in my heart that in my complaining I was so wrong. I have never felt such remorse over complaining before as I have always felt like it’s my right to say what I think when I’m in the privacy of my home. And it wasn’t just what I said, but it was the heart behind it too.
Here I am, at this job that I prayed and cried out to the Lord for over the course of FOUR YEARS. I begged Him for a job in social services, a job that I would find meaningful. And here I am, in this job that supports a cause I SO believe in and so perfectly caters to my strengths, and what am I doing? I AM COMPLAINING. Like the Israelites, I am finding all the things that are WRONG and airing my complaints not just to Kenny… but to the Lord. And not just against DOH… but against the God who gave me this job. So much more than the words I say, the problem is the attitude of my heart, the thoughts that fill my mind as I rehash all the frustrations I’ve been having.
And it’s okay to be frustrated. There have definitely been some injustices and things that can be improved, but what do I do with those thoughts? Do I take them to the Lord and ask Him to address them? Am I willing to, with God’s okay, go to my boss with my frustrations and share with him directly what’s been bothering me so much? Or do I just stew and complain and have short-sighted perspective?
Anyway that was a total tangent, but God convicted me so deeply of my wrong in my complaints and there are really few times I can recall when I have felt like that before.
Then there’s the Pharisee in me that says but wait!!! I do so many other things right!! Complaining is such a TINY sin. Why is it such a big deal when I live submitted in so many other areas of my life?
But then it comes back to that one question that’s been burning on my mind: How much do I want Jesus?
And how much do I want to be used by Him?
Because sin, even the tiniest sin, gets in the way of my fellowship with Jesus. And though God can still use me and still loves me unconditionally, do I want Him enough that I will get rid of anything standing in between Him and me?
Jesus, I want to know You more!! And because I want to know You, I want to be serious about my sin. I want to get rid of any semblance of it so there’s NOTHING in the way of my relationship with You. Help me rid myself of my sin, for only You can do it. Only You can give me grace and conviction to repent and flee. Fill me with Your Spirit. Use me. Make me like Daniel– unwilling to be defiled by any thing.