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Tenacity is the quality of being steadfast, immovable, unwavering when it comes to standing firm about a position. If you haven’t noticed, living for Christ in America these days is being tested – every time we turn around. In other words, many people have begun to think, incorrectly, that it’s possible to be a follower of Jesus Christ – without actually following him. So many wrongly think that faith is a private matter – but if someone’s faith is secret, it’s not really faith after all.
Tenacity, faith and worship can’t be safely separated – ever. To be tenacious for God is to be steadfastly, immovably committed to his glory and honor. It is to live for God not only in the private recesses of your life, but also in the public square – no matter who or what may threaten you to stand down.
“Don’t be fooled or intimidated by anyone posing to be more important than Jesus Christ.”
In the Book of Daniel, there are two scenarios we should take note of today, in light of what’s happening here, in America. In both situations, legislation was passed requiring worshipers of the God of Israel to compromise on the tenacity of their religious expression, their worship. In the first instance, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego were challenged with legislation that required them to bow down and worship a false god – or be thrown into a furnace heated so hot that its heat killed the attendees standing nearby.
The three men refused to comply with the legislation, and God not only protected them, but also changed Nebuchadnezzar’s heart about the real God whose glory was reflected by the three obedient men who would not compromise on being tenacious worshipers of their God. I encourage you to read about it yourself in Daniel, chapter 3.
“In both cases, they said, “no way” – and the biblical account demonstrates that what they did was absolutely, un-questionably, the right thing to do.”
Daniel 6 records how Daniel was required comply with legislation that forbade his devotion to the God of Israel – upon the threat of being thrown into a den of hungry, ferocious lions. But Daniel refused to comply with the legislation – because he understood that to do so would be a compromise on his living and true relationship with the living and true God.
In both of these instances, people who took their faith seriously were being forced to compromise, to abandon tenacious worship of God – through God-dishonoring legislation. In both cases, they said, “no way” and the biblical account demonstrates that what they did was absolutely, unquestionably, the right thing to do.
There absolutely are times when it’s right to disobey the government. Today, some people quote Romans 13, and attempt to suggest that Christians should obey the government at all costs. They suggest that it’s the “Christian” thing to do. But that’s really poor biblical interpretation – possibly in order to gain political power over people who don’t know their Bibles, or, for that matter, their God.
Here’s a wake-up call for each of us: The government is not God; it’s simply the government. it is to be respected – but if and when government leaders try to compel people of faith into a diabolical compliance, the Bible actually teaches that people who take their faith seriously should disobey, not comply.
The Book of Daniel demonstrates that there were times in history when leaders passed legislation that forced God’s people to make a decision between untainted, tenacious worship of God or tepid compromise thanks to legislative pressure applied by mere mortals.
By the time we get to the Book of Acts, we see in chapters 6 and 7 that Stephen was being pressured to sit down and shut up about his real, vibrant, public relationship with Jesus Christ. The idea of making his faith a private, personal matter was unfathomable for Stephen. It should be unfathomable for any true follower of Jesus. So tenacious was Stephen’s love for God that it cost him his life. He understood that being faithful to God, and taking his faith and his God seriously, was more important than conforming to pompous peer pressure.
“When we really stop and think about it, is it possible to “worship” God if we aren’t tenacious in the practice?”
All of these people teach us lessons about what real faith looks like when societies’ leaders are doing nothing more than attempting to bully God by bullying his people. When we really stop and think about it, is it possible to “worship” God if we aren’t tenacious in the practice?
If your faith if so private that you’re not willing to express it in public, your faith isn’t tenacious after all. In fact, it may not even be real, biblical faith. In Luke 9:26, Jesus says,
“Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
What about you? Will you be steadfast, immovable, unwavering and fully committed to loving and serving God, no matter what the consequences? If your faith tenacious or tepid? Have you allowed yourself to compromise on what should be the most important thing in your life – your real, vibrant walk with God?
Now is the time to think through what real faith – tenacious faith – looks like, and to make adjustments by examining how Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Daniel, and Stephen lived for God in the face of overt hostility. How they handled peer pressure and legislation is not meant to illustrate exceptional lives of devotion to God, but as timeless examples, so that people throughout all generations would remember that real faith is actually a life-permeating practice. Any suggestion or demand that the exercise of our faith can, or should, be restrained, is completely absurd.
Biblical faith can’t be described as anything other than . . . tenacious. Don’t be fooled or intimidated by anyone posing to be more important than Jesus Christ.
TENACIOUS PRAYER: LORD God in heaven, help me to obey you no matter what the consequences. Help me to be concerned only about what honors you to the greatest possible degree, to have the courage to worship and love you above everything else in my life, and that I love people in the overflow. Help me to see areas of my life where I may have compromised, and to surrender to you freshly so that I’m truly tenacious in my worship toward you, and enjoy you all along the way.
What if culture, legislation, or court decisions demand that you compromise on your God-given invitation to glorify God? Will you give in? You may have already begun to do so without realizing it. Now is the time to get back on track, and stay there — for the glory of God. Are you a tenacious Christian? If not, you don’t understand what being a Christian is really about. By examining the lives of five tenacious people — people who refused to compromise on their calling to worship and love God — you’ll learn what tenacity looks like so that you, too, can glorify and enjoy God like never before.
What does the Bible actually say about healthy, appropriate sexual activity? Is there a difference between same-sex attraction and sexual activity between two people of the same sex? Does the Bible approve of same-sex marriage? These are some of the key questions that are asked and answered in this message, part of the companion series for Pastor Michael Anthony’s book, “A Call for Courage.” It’s a message you’ll not only appreciate, but will also want to share with those who want answers about sex and sexuality in modern America.
Someone you know needs to watch or read this. It may even be you . . .
Disobedience to God is no small thing – it always invites discipline. Obedience, on the other hand, always invites God’s blessing. Yes, we know that every blessing God gives is undeserved – it’s all grace – but that doesn’t mean there is nothing anyone can do to receive gifts from God. The grace of God is that he has revealed to us – in advance – truths about what we can expect from him. When you do what’s right, you’ll be blessed. When we disobey, we always invite divine discipline, which is designed to get us back on track to start walking with him once again.
Whenever we disobey God and don’t experience his discipline, it’s a result of his mercy, when God withholds from us the discipline we deserve. But we must always be careful that we don’t tempt God and take his mercy for granted. If you get into the unhealthy habit of disobeying him, thinking he will always forgive you, you wander into dangerous territory. You must be careful you don’t take God’s undeserved favor, grace, and his undeserved pardons, mercy, lightly.
“No one who truly surrenders to God will ever live to regret it – but there are a great many people who have resisted God and paid a heavy, heavy price.”
Being faithful to God, not popular with people, is life’s true objective. It’s the pursuit that will set you free – and keep you walking in freedom. Being faithful to God is the most rewarding pursuit in all of life, because whenever you disobey, you set yourself back. Disobedience is a choice to contradict the very purpose of your life, which is to love and enjoy God, and to glorify him in the overflow. No one who truly surrenders to God will ever live to regret it – but there are a great many people who have resisted God and paid a heavy, heavy price.
In 1 Samuel 15, there’s the story of how God clearly gave instructions to King Saul. He was told to listen to the LORD and obey him completely. When the whole episode was over, the attitude of Saul’s heart was exposed: “I have sinned. I violated the LORD’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them” (1 Sam. 15:24). Saul’s fear of people was greater than his respect for God, and it cost him dearly. Proverbs 29:25 says it this way: “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”
Throughout your life you will be constantly tempted to be more concerned about the opinions of people than the opinions of God. Be careful you don’t confuse the two, because they are on a collision course and cannot mutually co-exist. One will always dominate the other. If you obey God, you’ll please the people you need to please, and those you don’t end up pleasing don’t have opinions that should sway you, anyway. In all you do, all the time, trust God and leave the consequences with him.
PRAYER: LORD GOD, please help me focus on being faithful to you, and trust you with the outcome. Protect me from the subtleties of being influenced by people in ways that may threaten to gradually lead me astray from pure and sincere devotion to you. Help me to be faithful to you today, and every day, in every choice I make, so that my life is increasingly characterized by faithfulness to you.
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America is in the midst of a “We must obey God rather than man” moment. It’s time for people of faith, who embrace historic Judeo-Christian values, to arise with courageous humility. This message will help you understand the significance of a recent decision by the United States Supreme Court and what it means for Bible believing people everywhere. Listen. Share. Put into action.