Jonathan's Perspective  

May 7

'LIVING CONVICTIONS IN TOUGH TIMES'

How are we supposed to live out our convictions when we step outside our Sunday subculture? On Monday the rubber meets the road; we have to figure out how to stand firm in our convictions and in all kinds of situations. In the Old Testament, Daniel is a perfect example of someone who stood firm in his convictions. None of us face the kind of pressure Daniel faced to fit into the Babylonian culture. He was kidnapped, taken a thousand miles from home, re-educated and given a Babylonian name. He was given the best of food and wine. One small problem: Danial was Jewish. He knew who he was and stood on his convictions. Daniel didn’t allow changes in his wardrobe and name to change him; he refused to lose himself to the seduction of power, position, and wealth. Daniel wouldn’t play the game and knew that if he didn’t play along, he could be ostracized and even put to death. Now THAT is pressure!

Daniel could have dug in his heals and made a big show that he was not going to give in, but he was smarter than that. He understood that holding on to his convictions didn’t have to make him rude or obnoxious. He knew how to hold on to his convictions without flaunting them. Daniel was ordered to eat the king’s wine and food which Daniel considered to be turning his back on God. Since Daniel’s overseer was unsure about giving him a vegetarian diet, Daniel proposed a testing period. The Bible says that ‘Daniel spoke to [the guard] with wisdom and tact.’ Daniel 2:14. He told his overseer to judge him after 10 days. This kind of winsome approach enabled Daniel to survive four different administrations of Babylonian leaders – no small feat! 

John writes in his gospel that Jesus came ‘full of grace and truth.’ (Jn 1:14) I like that. Jesus didn’t give up the truth of who He was when He engaged a difficult world. Rather, He presented Himself in a way that was appealing and inviting for others to embrace. I think of truth as the content of our convictions and grace as the style. The truth never changes, but how it is presented can take on many forms. Grace is always the best way to present the truth. 

Grace accompanies our truth when we are at our best as followers of Jesus. In fact, there is hardly anything worse for our witness than to present truth without grace. A question I often ask myself is: Do I demonstrate grace to make the truth of my convictions inviting? I hope the truth and grace of Christ shines through our convictions as we engage the world Monday through Saturday.

Inviting you further into the Kingdom,

Jonathan

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