Sold Out For Christ

Sold Out For Christ

Whenever I need inspiration and motivation as to how to practically live a life that is sold out for Christ, I often find myself visiting the book of Daniel in the Bible. I guess one reason that this book has come to serve that purpose for me over the years is because I truly believe that fewer books of any sort portray a life of spiritual commitment, conviction, and balance better than that of the book of Daniel.

While many of us are likely familiar with that which is chronicled in this book, let me just quickly remind us that it details, among other things, the powerful story of how the three Hebrew boys Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (who were friends of Daniel) refused to bow down to a giant gold statute that was built by the reigning King Nebuchadnezzar and how they were thrown into a fiery furnace as a death sentence. Because of their faith and resolve to solely reverence the one and only God, however, the story ends with our Lord receiving honor and glory as the onlookers witness with astonishment these men’s preservation in the midst of the darting flames as they emerged walking around unharmed and unscathed in the furnace with the appearance of another who was credited as being the Son of God.  What a wonderful reminder to us all that when we refuse to bow down, when we resolve not to give in to any worldly pressure that would compromise our devotion to God, how He is with us and how He will deliver us unharmed and untouched by our opponents. 

Then there is the story of Daniel himself who rose to the rank of governor of a province, and because of his notoriety, there were those who were jealous and consequently devised a plan to use Daniel’s very own faith to harm him. Specifically, they recognized that Daniel prayed to God daily, and thus they convinced the sitting king at that juncture (King Darius) to enact a law that would prevent the citizens from praying and worshipping anyone but him. As a result of Daniel’s resolve to serve God no matter what (by continuing to pray to our Lord daily—3x/day at that), he was thrown into a den of lions (in a 21st century setting, I liken this to a place for us of extreme disadvantage, a state of antagonism, and/or hostility). In addition, a large obstructive stone was used to seal the den. In other words, Daniel had no visible or no earthly way out. Yet, this is when our Lord shows Himself faithful to His servants the most because in the case of Daniel, He supernaturally muzzles the mouths of the lions and transcendentally drops down a guardian angel through the ceiling of the den to sit and watch over Daniel all night long serving as his keeper and his protector.

Is that not how God still does today? How many of us can testify to God’s faithfulness, having experienced how He has silenced our adversaries, turning those very people, places, and things—those very circumstances that were meant to harm us—into a fertile ground of growth and strength for us and a setting of glory and honor to Him? Or how many of us can testify to how God has divinely dropped angels at our doorstep in the form of family members, friends, neighbors (or for that matter, even strangers) at some of our darkest moments, and how He has used them to literally snap us back from the depths of our fatal thoughts and the pit of our destructive actions?

So I do revisit this book often for inspiration, but then I too consider these servants’ personal attributes for my motivation. You see in chapter one of Daniel, God so graciously lays out for us the characteristics of these men who were found worthy to serve and win others for Him. That is, you do know that because of their steadfastness, all of those who witnessed their miraculous deliverance did bless the God they served? I encourage you to read the full text for yourself, and if you were to read verse 4 of chapter one, it indicates that these young men by the world’s standards were attractive, intelligent, cultured, knowledgeable and skilled. Further, verses 8-15 reveal that by God’s standards, they were disciplined, committed and sold out to Him. In particular, when Daniel and his friends were selected by the King’s court to serve because of their worldly favor, Daniel requested that he and his friends not be required to eat the portion of meat and drink from the king’s table but continue to follow the vegetarian diet prescribed for his people by the King of Kings. As a result of their discipline and commitment to God, the Word says in verse 15 that God proved them to be healthier and more attractive than all the others who did eat from the king’s table.

Consequently, sometimes I wonder where some of us get this idea that our worldly efforts must contend with our spiritual pursuits. That is, the care we take in our appearance, our pursuit of excellence in our craft, and our acquisition of knowledge and understanding of our culture and surrounding world must conflict with our ability to be spiritual and holy. At least for me, these scriptures suggest otherwise. In fact, I would argue that they infer that in order to be truly sold out for Christ and able to effectively win others to Him, we must learn the critical skill of living a life of balance where we seek to represent God in excellence “in the world,” and commit to pursuing God over those things “of the world.” Further, I believe that the book of Daniel is a wonderful illustration of this in practice, and I praise God that with every new day that we are afforded, we have yet another opportunity to work on pursuing that balance and living a life sold out for Him!

By Dr. Cynthia Turner

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