CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
The Fiery Furnace of Popular Opinion
By Laurel J. Davis
See Laurel's blog at The Reluctant First Lady
Christians don't need the world's permission to do what God Almighty Himself commands us to do. If God said it, that settles it, there's no need for a second opinion. Indeed, since God's "opinion" is not opinion at all but is Absolute Truth, that's what He expects us to follow as He has revealed it in His Word. Only He has the words of life (John 6:68). Do as He says because He said so, period.
But oh, how hard it is to follow God's Word! How hard it is to obey Him! How hard it is to stand up for Bible-based principles in the face of possible heat from everyone around you! How hard it is to put God first in your life when the world and even some Christians you know put Him last — and still seem to be quite content!
How hard it is to live right, read your Bible, go to church, pray diligently, be fruitful, and be more heavenly-minded in a materialistic world! How hard it is to not lie for the good of our business or personal affairs, to put other people's needs before our own, to take a strong stand for truth, and to boldly share the Gospel with the lost! How hard it is to be humble, accountable and yielding to others. How hard it is to not curse, not fornicate, not gossip, not boast, not worry! Etc., etc., etc.!
How hard it is to stay on the straight and narrow path when the wide and crooked one's got a "politically correct" party going on with all the folks trying to trip you up, drag you down, knock you over or take you out.
But all that's a part of what it means to take up your cross and follow Christ (Mark 8:34-38). The cross symbolizes Jesus' ultimate sacrifice for us, but it also reminds us of our own sacrifices for Him. Christ gave up His very life for us when we didn't even deserve it. What are we willing to give up for Him who really deserves it?
We sacrifice for Christ by obeying Him to the best of our ability despite all the obstacles, believing He'll never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) no matter how hot the opposition, and trusting Him that, despite the heat, we will come out okay.
Popular opinion, on the other hand, really carries its followers only one wishy-washy wave at a time. While it appears to provide strength in numbers, as soon as things get too hot, it either shifts direction or swirls in meaningless circles.
Either way, it leaves you hanging, and often by a thread. The "majority rules" mentality of popular opinion can seem the safest way to go. But often, as with its rejection of the Gospel, it's deadly. "Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it" (Matthew 7:13).
Praise God that He has the words of life! And His Word never changes!
One beautiful thing about obeying God is also knowing that He gives us the strength to do it. And like the loving and protective Father that He is, He remains right there with us to help us through whatever heat comes our way.
Remember the awesome account of the three faithful and obedient Hebrew youths in Daniel 3. Because they obeyed God's command that "You shall have no other gods before Me" and refused to bow down to the Babylonian king like everyone else, they were tied up and thrown into the fiery furnace.
That fiery furnace was turned up seven times hotter than usual. It was so hot in fact that the guards who threw them in were themselves killed by its intensity.
So what happened? The king took a peek into that fiery furnace and saw, not just the three young men but now also a fourth Man. And all four of them were unbound, walking in the midst of the fire — scorch free!
There is no doubt who that fourth Man was. As that heathen king himself marveled, He is like unto the Son of God.
Even if popular opinion gets as hot as that fiery furnace, keep obeying God. He will be there taking the heat with you, keeping you unbound and on your feet in the midst of even the most intense fire, and bringing you out scorch free!
Image Credit: Adam; "The narrow gate"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Sin-Evil
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Published on 9-24-14