Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for this daily challenge. It’s Thursday, the day we try to apply and live out what we’ve learned this week from the Bible. This week we’ve been studying
All kinds of ways the powers that be can insist on adherence to certain beliefs.
One Christian writer, Martin Buber, observed how every nation is inclined to make an idol of its own inner spirit; Israel’s calling was to erect a throne to God rather than to itself, and “that is why every nation is bound to desire to get rid of us at the time it is in the act of setting itself up as the absolute” Goldingay, J. E. (1998). Vol. 30: Daniel. Word Biblical Commentary (73). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
This has a specific application for regular Christians – how can one be a citizen of the kingdom of God, AND hold positions of authority and responsibility in a secular state at the same time. What is your line that cannot be crossed?
But there is also a more general application to consider – in what ways is God with us in less harrowing circumstances?
These men were aware of God’s presence and protection – otherwise they might have given in. Clearly they trusted in God so much, and had such strong convictions about this, that they believe he would either save them from the fire or otherwise protect them through death.
We can easily become functional atheists – saying god exists, but acting as if he doesn’t.
Sometimes the line isn’t clear – take the story of the Vicar of Baghdad, Andrew White. After doing incredible work in Iraq, as ISIS was advancing, he had to choose whether to stand his ground and likely become a martyr, or to go somewhere safer and try to support the work of others. He said, the Archbishop of Canterbury “told me I was more valuable alive than dead, and I had to agree with him.” This was probably difficult, but true, since it meant leaving people he cared about and who were in danger. But he rightly saw that this isn’t about just dying indiscriminately – it’s about knowing the line that may not be crossed – and not becoming a martyr for every line in the sand. Andrew didn’t deny Jesus, he continues to support a network of those serving Jesus.
For each of us, this looks different.
Challenge: What will help you trust and remember God is with you at all times, even in death? What tangible reminder might do this? What is your line – what would you never do or deny, even if it meant you would die?