Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Being a Godly Influence in a Godless Society

Two of the most well-known Bible stories are Joseph and his “coat of many colors” and Daniel in the lion’s den. Ironically, though over 1,000 years separate these men, they have many things in common that we can learn from today.

Both men were uprooted from their homes and planted in foreign lands when they were teenagers. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and he ended up living in Egypt (Genesis 37:28). Daniel was taken captive by the Babylonians and he ended up living in Babylon (Daniel 1:1). Many of us in the same situation would be donning the victim mentality or hoping a psychologist could fix our damaged psyches, but not these young men. They clung tighter to God through prayer and unwavering obedience.

  • Both men were faithful to God and obeyed Him without reservation even while living amid heathen people (Daniel 5:11, Genesis 39:6-12 / Daniel 1:8, Daniel 6:10). Many of us would be cowering in fear or isolating ourselves to keep our lives unstained or safe, but these men sought ways to improve the lives of the idol-worshiping people around them.  
  • Both men were unjustly accused and thrown into a prison (Genesis 39:20 / Daniel 6:16). Most of us would be crying the blues and demanding our legal rights, yet because of their sterling faith in God, the chief guard exalted Joseph in prison and the king fasted for Daniel’s safety while he was in the lion's den. (Genesis 39:22 / Daniel 6:18). 
  • Both men were forced to live in cultures that were contrary to their beliefs, yet they lived their lives without compromising their convictions. And as a result, because of their unflinching faith and devotion to God, they both became men of influence. Joseph saved a country from starvation (Genesis 41:35-36) and Daniel was instrumental in the conversion of three kings (Daniel 4:37, Daniel 6:25-26).
  • Both men ascended to great heights and became powerful men in the political arena, influencing and bettering the lives of the people (Genesis 41:40-41, Daniel 2:48, Daniel 6:2-3). They served among the ungodly while living out their unshakable faith.
In the New Testament, Jesus is described as the perfect balance and example of godly influence and living. He loved and mingled with sinners and yet preached repentance and acceptance of Him in order to enter His Heavenly Kingdom (Mark 1:15, Luke 13:3). Fear will keep us in our comfort zone. Faith and firm footing on the Solid Rock of His Word will give us the courage to stand for Christ, love and serve other people, and become a positive influence in society. 

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