As early as the first week of August this year, I noticed local stores began displaying their Halloween candy and costumes. While Halloween is not considered a holiday, it is still big business in our country. In fact, Americans spent more than $10 billion in 2021 on candy and decorations for the occasion. Most of the festivities surrounding Halloween are harmless fun and quickly forgotten until the next time it rolls around on the calendar.
However, one of the primary marketing strategies of Halloween is fear. The same can be said of our enemy, Satan. He thrives on dividing our thoughts and tempting us to forget the promises and presence of our loving Father.
If the enemy can lead us to doubt God, disobedience will often follow. Daniel was a man of great courage and resolve, possessing a faith in God that remains a testament to us all. Even when the consequences of holding firm to his convictions seemed to threaten his life, Daniel did not waver.
One danger facing the church these days is what I call “situational theology.” It seems if a certain group does not agree with something in the Scriptures, they exhaust time and energy in either justifying their behavior or rationalizing why they believe God’s commands are antiquated or irrelevant to today’s culture.
My friend, we have the privilege to study, contemplate and wrestle with God’s Word, but we do not have the right to change it. Those who were around King Darius were jealous of Daniel’s ascent as a leading commissioner and sought to destroy Daniel and his faith by tricking Darius into signing a decree forbidding any prayers not addressed to him personally. He conceded. The pride and schemes of people will always stand in opposition to the holiness of God.
When Christians are obedient to God, opposition will occur. As members of a fallen and broken world, it should be expected. They will hate what we do and who we are. The enemy is bent on destroying the Church and its members.
We do not obey the Lord to please the world; we do so to honor Him alone. The assurance of the presence of God is sufficient for us to face any obstacle, withstand any foe and be victorious over any opposition.
At this point in his life, Daniel was in his 80s and had lived a life with a history of repeated and proven integrity. Could it be that the longer we serve God, the more confidence we have in Him? It seems to take a lifetime to mature, but that is the true mark of discipleship.
We may not face a den of lions, but we will face daily opportunities to either trust God or bow to the world. Stay committed and have confidence in the presence and protection of God. He may shut the mouth of the opposition and when He does, give Him praise.
Others are watching how we respond when adversity comes calling. Are we pointing others toward Jesus or away from Him? When it comes to the love and intervening grace of God, it is no trick — only treats.
This lesson was written by Bobby McKay, pastor of New Liberty Baptist Church in Morton, Mississippi, and originally published by The Baptist Paper. This study is based on the Bible Studies for Life curriculum from Lifeway Christian Resources.
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