As a young lad, I enjoyed the testimony of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I thought their courage was awesome: they stood before the most powerful man of the known world and told him, no. Their boldness was equally breath taking: they defended God before the king, his mighty men and his counselors. Yet as a child, I missed the deeper message of their testimony.
Their personal commitment level to God was astounding! It’s nearly unheard of today. They were threaten by the king in his anger to obey his command, yet listen to their reply: “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver [us] out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Dan 3:17-18.
So often they are commended for their faith in the Lord because they said: Our God can deliver us! Yet look at their next phase: But if not. They were equally willingly to stand up for God even if He chose to let them suffer. They declared: Be it known, we will not betray God!
We must return to a love for God so strong, we would die for Him. With such an attitude, there’s nothing man can do to us. To die for someone does not always mean physical death: if I have a dream to do this or that and my friend(s), parents, spouse, child(ren) or even my enemy, has a need or a dream and by aiding them to fulfill their dream, I loose the chance to do mine, I have died the greatest death of all: death to self. That is vary core of all Christianity.
Whether it’s what to watch on TV or what restaurant to eat at, if we won’t yield to others in small ways, how can we think it possible to yield in big ones? Yielding to God and others is what Christianity is. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Mt. 22:37-40.
Think back to the beginning, God gave Adam one law: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: thou. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Gen. 2:16-17. The whole point for the forbidden tree was to give mankind a chance to willingly choose God over self. Now, in Christ, we are restored to such a place, we can freely make that choice. Again, we are in the garden, so to say, and all God wants of us is to sincerely choose His will over ours. Once we do that, God does the work in us. Of course, in Adam and Eve’s world, there was only one forbidden tree, in our world there’s more. That means we have more opportunities to choose God’s will instead of ours. God, throughout Scripture, has always been more concerned with the status of our heart (choices) instead of our actions because He knows, how we think and what we choose, will effect how we act and what we do!