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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.
TIME TO WAKE UP
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.
IS REAL FAITH MERELY A PRIVATE MATTER?
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.”
IT’S YOUR CALL
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.
HAVE THE OPINIONS OF PEOPLE LED YOU ASTRAY? HAVE YOU ALLOWED YOURSELF TO COMPROMISE ON UNWAVERING SURRENDER TO 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.