Thursday, April 6, 2017

A sterling reputation - starting early!

What a wonderful example for believers Daniel provides! His faith, and his persistence, and the resulting blessings from God, show God's love for us and His providence and care for us. Daniel shows us how being committed to our principles can grow our reputation.

What lessons can we learn from Daniel this week?
What can he tell us about commitments and how to keep them?
First, we can be successful in keeping our commitments to the Lord, if we are polite. Remember how confident that Daniel was, that God's way was the right way? He still didn't get loud, or harsh. He especially didn't act rude or arrogant. Being impolite never makes things better -- just makes a situation more tense.
A gentle answer turns away wrath,    but a harsh word stirs up anger. The soothing tongue is a tree of life,    but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.(Proverbs 15:1, 4)
Next, we should always seek God's help in keeping our commitments to Him. We've studied before and noted that He is pleased when we come to Him for strength. Without Him, any effort is more likely to fail.
Unless the Lord builds the house,    the builders labor in vain.Unless the Lord watches over the city,    the guards stand watch in vain. (Psalm 127:1)
And He seeks to help us when we demonstrate our loyalty and commitment to Him.
For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. (II Chronicles 16:9a)
Don't forget that Daniel was persistent -- he didn't give up when the first response was "no." After meeting that obstacle, he tried again.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)
Lastly, Daniel was so sure that God "had his back" that he was willing to test his own faith. To put it all on the line for Him. He proposed to the steward that a ten day trial be held, and then see the results after the ten days. Daniel was so committed to the principles of clean, lawful living, that he was willing to trust God for the results.
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. (Malachi 3:10)
Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. (John 7:17)
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:31-34)
Often I am reminded that lessons from His Word are not just to keep us straight, but sometimes are given so that we can counsel other believers . . . . are there some people, young or old, that we can encourage to stand for their commitments to God?
What about a college age student, moving away from home? They are leaving the comfort and protection that home and family affords, and headed toward situations that will test their faith and their resolve. Let's encourage them to live and act with the purpose in their heart that Daniel had.
What about an adult in the workplace? Sometimes it's necessary to accept jobs that are worrisome, to support a family. Let's shore up their resolve, and encourage them to keep their convictions, not compromise. Let's counsel them to be loyal, but not to lie; to be flexible, but not abandon their principles.
What about someone whose spouse who is not a believer? Can we encourage him or her to serve God with a committed heart? To raise their children in the pathways of the Lord, even though there is not support for those principles from their spouse?

Let's be determined to have the faith of a teenager in Babylon! Let's purpose in our hearts to keep our commitments to the Lord! In time, we will have a sterling reputation for serving Him.

1 comment:

Katie Isabella said...

I have had several occasions where I tested my faith on my own and the Lord honored me with His council and Presence.