Thursday, July 25, 2019

Live a Holy Minute to Walk a Holy Life

Background photo courtesy of: Serbogachuk from Getty Images 

Recently our church has been working through a series on Daniel.  This is a book of the bible I have admittedly glossed over many times, because I figured I already heard about all the best juicy parts as a child (you know...the whole killing a giant with a stone and being saved from lions parts).  I'm learning, as always, there is so much more to scripture when you start to dig a little.

Daniel walked through some really difficult times, and through it all he showed a persistent and unwavering faith life.  As I have been sitting in church listening to the stories of Daniel and reading through it myself, I've had to wonder how he did it. How did he remain so consistently faithful? How did he maintain his spiritual integrity in the face of so much adversity?

Chapter 6 is the famous chapter where Daniel is thrown into the den of lions.  But there's so much more that happens in this chapter.  First, the king is so impressed by Daniel and the way he consistently handles himself and everyone around him, that he is considering giving Daniel authority over all the kingdom.  Obviously, this is a problem for the satraps and other administrators who are jockeying for position.

They want to find something wrong or corrupt about Daniel, but they can't.  So, they weasel a shifty edict about worshipping the king, knowing Daniel would never deny worship to the one true God.  Listen to verse 10, because here's where things blow my mind.

"Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem.  Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before."
-Daniel 6:10 (NIV)

Just as he had done before.  He knew this could mean death for him.  But, he didn't go home and hide.  He didn't go pray in a closet.  He opened his window to a view of Jerusalem, a land that was in the midst of ruin and hopelessness.  Instead of identifying with that land and giving up hope, he chose to pray and once more find his identity in Christ.  Just as he had always done.  I don't know that I would have been so brave, friend.  Would you?

But this was black and white for Daniel.  He had practices in place his whole life that prepared him for these moments.  He had been exercising his spiritual muscles for such a time as this.  And I think God is calling us to do the same.

We can't expect spiritual reactions to come naturally in moments of hopelessness, if we are not practicing spiritual disciplines in our daily lives.

Just as a runner wouldn't run a marathon without training, or a law student take the Bar exam without studying, we cannot expect to live this life of faith well without strengthening our spiritual muscles.  We need an appetite for God's word and His presence.  We need communication with Him on a daily basis.  We need His word coming to life in us through the practicing of what it says.

These aren't rules to be abided by, but a life line to be rescued by.  I want to be a great mom, wife, writer, entrepreneur, teacher, etc.  I want to be a woman who responds to worry with truth claimed boldly, who responds to unmet expectations with grace, who responds to insecurity with a rightly placed identity, who responds to hurt with forgiveness, who responds to chaos with a calm and trusting spirit.

I can want to be that woman and I can strive to be that woman with all my might.  But, if I'm not taking steps to practice daily surrender and connectedness with God, my attempts and my wishes are futile.  Oh, may we be a group of women who change the course of history.  May we be the generation(s) who finally woke up and realized the change starts in us.  May we be the peace-bringers, the truth tellers, the encouragers, the prayer warriors, the fierce lovers, the faithful followers, the persistent seekers.  May we be women who walk in integrity. Amen?

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