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Courageous Christian

As we see the story of Daniel and his friends unfold, one thing can't be missed. Obeying God was more important than life. They knew that fearing God was always better than living in fear of men or women.

17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.  DANIEL 3:17-18

This is one of the most courageous statements in all of Scripture: EVEN IF HE DOES NOT rescue us, we will not serve false Gods or bend the knee to your demands. What drove their courage, was their ultimate devotion to the Lord.

Today, we must have the same devotion-driven courage. History tells us the story of two courageous Christians who were 100% right on the issues of their day.

The first teaches us how to stand out. 18th Century Christian William Wilberforce, a member of parliament, found His purpose and mission in life through His devotion to Jesus. He reached his famous conclusion that "God had set before me two objects: the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners." Wilberforce's embracing of the anti-slavery cause was from the direct effect of embracing the Christian worldview. He fought for the rights of others for decades with false accusations directed at him, threats to his life, and vilification of his motives. It would be 27 years of speeches, writings, and activism by Wilberforce and others before the slave trade in England came to an end in 1803. Wilberforce’s faith in Jesus Christ changed him from a careless, wealthy young politician to a tireless, compassionate public servant.

One of the lasting lessons from Wilberforce's life drives us to stand out because of our devotion to God:  Surely the principles of Christianity lead to action as well as meditation.

The second courageous Christian teaches us to speak up. 20th Century theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer spoke up against the actions of Hitler's Germany. Known for resistance against Nazi nationalism and its impact on the church and the Jewish community. He even spoke up to correct the church and its silent support of Hitler. He was imprisoned for his resistance and sadly, he was hanged 4 days before his POW camp was freed by the allied forces.

One of the lasting lessons from Bonhoeffer's life leads us to speak up because of our devotion to God: Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

What's the lesson for you and for me?  

Courageous Christians KNOW: Christianity is not relegated to be practiced at home and a Sunday morning church service. It’s a part of our everyday life, every day.  We live our faith and share our faith in everything that we do. We stand up and speak out because of our devotion to God. Even if it requires decades to see change, we live with devotion. Even if we pay a personal price, we live with devotion. We live devotion with gentleness and respect because our devotion drives our actions.  That's how Daniel and his friends did it and so can we.