Unshakeable: When your beliefs are belittled
Have you ever felt pressured to make choices that don’t align with your values? As the world’s values continue to drift, you need to be equipped with the resources to handle whatever life throws at you. In the Unshakable series based on the life of Daniel, you’ll discover how to handle life’s most difficult situations. The principles that guided Daniel through precarious life choices will help you learn how to respond when you feel pressured to make wrong choices, want to thrive in a hostile environment, succeed when you’re asked to do the impossible, stand strong for God publicly, and pray the kind of prayers that God answers. This week is Unshaken: when your beliefs are belittled.
Bottom line: How can I make a difference when my beliefs are belittled?
Something To Talk About:
One of the realities of life is that our education doesn’t end with our schooling. To be successful and productive in life we’ve got to keep learning and applying what we’ve learned. With God’s help we need to turn knowledge into wisdom. Daniel’s story gives us some insight into how to excel in our education without losing our faith in the process. We can accomplish that in the following ways:
- Decide in advance to stand for God: The time to choose to be loyal to God is before the challenge comes. Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer some sort of persecution. So don’t be surprised when your faith is challenged. We must stand up for God. You need to help them decide in advance to stand for God. That’s what Daniel did in order to succeed. “But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king.….” (Daniel 1:8) Remember: at the end of your life, when you stand before God, he’s going to ask, “What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ? Did you get to know Him? Did you decided in advance to stand for God? Did you excel in being a student of the Lord?
- Steep myself in God’s word: You’ve got to soak in God’s word and let it penetrate every part of your thinking. You need to read God’s Word every day and memorize it, meditate on it. The Bible says, “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” (Joshua 1:8) It will give you wisdom to discern the truth from the lie. You must learn the truth in order to discern the lie. The Psalmist wrote, “Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life.” (Psalm 119:104) The Bible says, “A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash.” (Proverbs 15:14) If you want to be unshakable in a secular environment, steep yourself in God’s Word.
- Never stop learning: All leaders are learners. You can’t be a good leader if you stop learning. The moment you stop learning you stop leading and fall behind. When you stop learning you stop growing. The Bible says, “Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.” (Proverbs 18:15) It says, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that isn’t ashamed.” (2nd Timothy 2:15) The Bible says, “Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.” We are to strive for wisdom all our lives. It’s important to know that knowledge and wisdom are not the same thing. Knowledge is information gained from education or experience. Knowledge can lead to wisdom, but it’s not the same thing as wisdom. To have wisdom you have to see life from God’s viewpoint. It enables you to respond to people and situations from God’s viewpoint.
- Always choose believers as your best friends: If you want to succeed in life and pass the test of being belittled for your faith, then you’ll need your best friends to be believers, people who have the same beliefs as you, the same values as you, people who can encourage you to keep the faith. That’s what Daniel did. He had his three best friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He could trust them to be strong and help him to keep the faith. The apostle Paul warns us, “Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” (1st Corinthians 15:33) There are some people you need to stay away from because they could put you in harm’s way. Your best friends need to be committed to following Jesus Christ and living as He would have you live.
- For the rest of the year, when you have the opportunity, go to church. (2) Join a small group; and (3) volunteer in a ministry where you can use your talents.
- What was something that tested your faith this week? It can be anything from serious to silly—just share a bit about what you’ve been facing lately.
- 1 Peter 1:7 says that when your faith stays strong in trials, it honors God and helps reveal Jesus to the world. How have you seen that in someone’s life? How has someone else’s faith revealed Jesus to you?
- What would have happened if Daniel would have bowed or compromised his faith? How have you seen compromise affect your faith?
- What are you doing to devote yourself to learning more about God through the Bible and other Christians this year? How can we spend more time together so can learn more about letting Christ live through us together?
- How do we become totally immersed in the word of God? What are the benefits when your faith is belittled?
- What is your motive for picking your friends? What is your mission for picking your friends?
- What are some other questions you should ask yourself before allowing someone into your inner circle? What qualifies the person to be in your inner circle other than familiarity?
- What can we do this week to be better prepared when people belittle our faith?
Take one thing home with you:
If you like stories that end well, you will have to love Christianity. One of the great themes of our faith is our hope—the assurance that things will end right. So in the midst of struggles and storms, battles and trials, we can focus beyond the present moment at the end game. In the end, God wins. Jesus is the incontestable champion. And the good news is that his story becomes our story when we believe. He’s the hope of humanity and the best news we have in times of trouble.