In today’s upside down world, we are told to be tolerant of ungodly behavior, but the Bible tells us otherwise. We are told there is no excuse for abiding in sin in (Romans 1:18-20), “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Paul further lists sins in Romans 1:26-31 and reminds us that we are not to accept or approve this behavior in Romans 1:32 “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
In driving to work this morning, I was listening to a commentary by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch.org that made me think of what Paul tells us in Romans 1. I’m sharing it below to show the influence Daniel had by remaining true to God, and was not influenced by the world; but instead he influenced others.
Daniel had the rare opportunity to influence four kings and their kingdoms with godly principles. Remaining true to God often meant putting himself in danger, but he never once wavered in his convictions. The record of his life shows us what is required of someone who wants to have a godly impact on those around him.
Complete confidence in the Lord’s ability to protect and provide empowered Daniel to make bold decisions. He delivered bad news to kings, even though such an act could have gotten him killed (Dan. 2:26-44; Dan. 5:17-28). What’s more, he challenged a law requiring him to violate God’s command to worship only Him (Dan. 6:7-11).
Daniel wasn’t intent on being popular; he was committed to doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord. And when he had to face consequences for choosing the unpopular course of action, he did so with a calm and Christ-like spirit. Offering no complaint, Daniel accepted the punishment of being thrown into a den of lions—he had, in fact, broken the law.
It is so tempting to think that if we do what is right, we should be rewarded or at least protected. But we live in a broken world, and sometimes doing what is right will get us punished. How we respond to the consequences of our obedience is actually as important as carrying out God’s will. Our reaction is being watched and evaluated by those in our sphere of influence, who want to see if we really believe our claim that the Lord is in control. God is using our experience and our witness to reach others for the kingdom.