I woke up two years into the future after a world pandemic to find that I was living in a new country. I pulled up my podcast app to listen to “The Briefing,” and my fears were confirmed. No, this was not a dream but a new reality that I’m still trying to wrap my head around. Here is an excerpt from “The Briefing” with Albert Mohler:
“Well, it’s only been 30 days since the last season ended, and what a 30 days it has been, just one month. This points to something we have to see over and over again these days, and that is the increase in what is known as cultural acceleration, or a cultural velocity. It’s the change that comes so fast now in society, not just at the surface level, but at the deep moral level. This is something that truly is unprecedented in human history. Moral change has often taken centuries, sometimes multiple centuries, certainly decades to take place, but right now moral change seems to happen almost as if it’s an explosion. It’s this high velocity, high energy event that just changes everything, so much so that what was an old world, way back there in the past, can be something as recent as just a few years ago.” (The Briefing, Albert Mohler, August 1, 2022, Podcast)
As a pastor, I immediately feel the weight of equipping the church to handle this new reality in which we find ourselves. How do we navigate this new post-Christian nation in which we live? I don’t think I’m the only one trying to figure this out, and I know throughout history that living in a post-Christian nation is the norm. It’s just not the norm for me. So, I started looking at the history of the Bible for the answers to this new normal.
This past Sunday, we started a new series at Reliant through the book of Daniel entitled “Unshakable.” The book begins with an unrepentant Israel captured by king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. It focuses on four young men taken to serve in the king’s court against their will. Daniel’s response gave me the answers I needed to navigate this new world.
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” (Daniel 1:8, AV)
That’s it! A purposed and resolute heart not willing to defile ourselves with the things of this world. The same determination Daniel made people have been making throughout the ages. If we are going to stand as God-fearing Christians amidst a crooked and perverse generation, we must resolve not to defile ourselves with the world around us but keep ourselves for God alone.
So here are four things every Christian can do to have a resolute heart toward God.
Determine in your heart to love God.
The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Luke 10:27a) Setting your affection on things above and not on the things of the earth is the first step of a resolute heart toward God (Col 3:2). What you focus on is what you love.
Determine in your soul to please God.
The only way to please God is through faith and trust in him. The resolute heart must trust in God and the Word of God for all life and practice. Daniel was willing to deny the good this world had to offer to stay pure in the eyes of God. Don’t get sucked into the lies this world has to offer. We are convinced God’s way is better than the ways of the world.
Determine in your mind to serve God.
Throughout the Bible, God has used his servants to call his people to choose which gods they will serve. When Joshua brought the people of Israel to the promised land, they had to choose.
“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14–15, ESV)
Today’s Christian is no different. The god you choose is the god you will serve.
Determine in your body to honor God.
Many Christians are losing faith in the church and disassociating themselves from it. Jesus died and rose again for the formation of the church. The Bride has its problems, no doubt, but you can’t abandon who you are. Once we understand that we are all part of the body of Christ, we can honor him through it. When we choose to world over God, we dishonor the cross of Jesus and the Bride he established. When we live in the unity of the Spirit, we honor Christ and build a dwelling place for God on Earth.
Purpose in your heart, like Daniel that you will not defile yourself with the king’s meat and drink.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5–6, ESV)
You can view the entire message on the Reliant Ministries youtube channel.