Friday, October 09, 2009

No Compromise (Daniel 1)

I've been reflecting on the first chapter of Daniel and the topic of "No Compromise." My mind keeps flashing back to the gospel singer Keith Green and his powerful 1978 album of the same name:
Make my life a prayer to You
I wanna do what you want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers no compromise

(The album cover by the way actually reflects the life of Haman, who refused to bow down before the king in the book of Esther. But it's the same message....)

What gripped me about this slogan then, and still does, is the decisive nature of Christian faith and that it sometimes has to stand quite definitively against the grain. It's what God says to Moses on Leviticus 19:2, "Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy." Or what Jesus stated quite succinctly in Matthew 6:8, "Do not be like them." Christ sometimes stands "against culture" as the 20th century theologian H. Richard Niebuhr put it.

The amazing thing about Daniel and his three friends, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego, is that even when they stood against the culture of the Babylonians, God didn't diminish their influence, he increased it. I've seen that happen--to the degree that I've lived for what God wants in my life, I deepen in integrity and character in ways that make me more effective in the world. As Keith Green wrote, that's a prayer worth living out.

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

Greg, wasn't it Esther's uncle, Mordecai, who didn't bow down? Haman was the official who wished that Mordecai had. The concept of no compromise is something that I work on -- Kathryn P.