Written by: Tendai Chitsike 
Article source: JOY! Magazine

Our kids have been going through an online series on the book of Daniel. While each message has resonated with our family, there is one that stood out for its contemporary pertinence: the story of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah being thrown into the fiery furnace. Looming large was the god of the day, a statue set up for which everyone must publicly bow down to and give homage. In the presence of the king and all the other high ranking officials, everyone bows down and worships the statue, everyone except these three Hebrews. Here they were – exiles and completely outnumbered – humbly yet boldly defying the god of their age all the way to the fiery furnace. What was clear from the very first chapter of Daniel was that though they were outnumbered exiles, they knew exactly who they were and who their God was. We will most likely never face such trials. Yet in our progressively post-Christian, social media-dominated world, we too are being increasingly confronted with a ‘bow-down or else’ scenario. This is where courage is indispensable.

“Courage is the first virtue that makes all other virtues possible.”

Aristotle was onto something when he said that “courage is the first virtue that makes all other virtues possible.” Without courage, sharing the Good News of Christ to a lost and dying world becomes too high a cost. But share we must. NBA Basketball player Jonathan Isaac did just that when he stood alone in standing for the US National Anthem and declined to wear a Black Lives Matter t-shirt. When repeatedly pressed about this decision, he refuted the insinuation that he didn’t care about black lives. Furthermore, he used this ‘social media furnace’ as a platform to give a presentation of the Gospel, pointing to the universal problem of sin and the undeserved grace he found in Christ. When we remember who we are, and Whose we are, we too can courageously swim upstream, as we are in fact called to.

Feature image: pixabay.com
Tendai Chitsike is the pastor of Every Nation Church in Makhanda. Email: engrahamstown@gmail.com

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