Chapter 14 (“Take a Stand”) of All In is based on the Old Testament account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3), specifically their refusal to bow down to the ninety-foot-tall statue of King Nebuchadnezzar. As author Mark Batterson notes, near-death experiences, especially in a literal fiery furnace, “often become defining moments in our lives.”
Pastor Batterson admits that if he had been in the sandals of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, he could have come up with any number of rationalizations to justify bowing down, in effect becoming his own advocate:
1. “I’m bowing on the outside, but I’m not bowing on the inside.”
2. “I’ll ask for forgiveness right after I get back up.”
3. “I’m only breaking one of the Ten Commandments.”
4. “What good am I to God if I’m dead?”
When it comes to rationalizations, Mark adds, we’re infinitely creative. But those rationalizations often annul God’s revelations. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego could have compromised their integrity by bowing down to the statue, thereby avoiding the fiery furnace. But Nebuchadnezzar would have been their deliverer, not God. And the three men would have been saved from the fiery furnace, not through it!
Pastor Batterson concludes:
“When we violate our conscience by compromising our integrity . . . we also become our own advocate because we step outside the boundaries of God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
Today’s question: How have you been intentional in maintaining your integrity following your ministry downsizing or vocation loss? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Protective Instinct”