When YOU'RE PRESSURED TO CONFORM
UNSHAKABLE! Thriving No Matter What They Throw At You – Pt. 2
July 30-31, 2016
"Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart."Proverbs 17:3 (NLT)
Before every blessing there's always a testing
"We speak God's message because God tested us and trusted us to do it. When we speak, we are not trying to please people, but God, who tests our hearts." 1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NCV)
God tests us with stress before He trusts us with success
"The king ordered that the young men should eat the same food and wine served at the king's table while they were being trained. After that they were to become servants of the king of Babylon... But Daniel resolved not to defile himself by eating the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way." Daniel 1:5, 8
Defile — to pollute, contaminate, or corrupt. A loss of purity
Daniel's first test shows...
4 QUALITIES GOD LOOKS FOR IN YOUR LIFE
- INTEGRITY – He never forgot who he was
"Daniel resolved not to defile himself..." Daniel 1:8a (NIV)
"Don't conform yourself to the values of this world. Instead, let Godtransform you by a complete change of how you think. Then you will beable to know the will of God..." Romans 12:2 (TEV)
ACTION PLAN: Write down one instance when you conformed to the values of your friends, or work place, or society at large. Speak with your Small Group how that one instance affected you and how you are going to rectify it.
- DISCIPLINE – He controlled his ego & his appetite
"Daniel made up his mind not to eat the food and wine given to them by the king." Daniel 1:8a (LB)
"Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness used for sinning; instead give yourself completely to God... because you want to be a tool in the hands of God used for his good purposes." Romans 6:13
ACTION PLAN: Write down three areas in your life that your ego causes you problems. Pray about each of these areas and ask God to point out to you when these issues come up again.
- COURAGE – He was willing to stand alone
"Never follow the crowd in doing wrong, and don't be swayed in your testimony by the mood of the majority." Exodus 23:2 (GW/LB)
"Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong!" 1 Corinthians 16:13
ACTION PLAN: Create for yourself a little journal. Start by writing three instances where you stood your ground in what you believed was right. Did you suffer consequences? If yes, would you do it again? Did you feel God's presence? Keep this journal active and add to it as your face these tests in your life.
- HUMILITY – He was tactful with authority
"Then Daniel asked chief official for permission to eat other things instead. Now God had given the chief official great respect for Daniel. But he said, 'I'm afraid of my lord, the king, who ordered that you eat his food and wine, And If you aren't as healthy as the others, I fear the king will have me beheaded!'
"So next, Daniel talked it over with the guard appointed to look after Daniel and his three friends. Daniel offered a suggestion: 'Just test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water. Then see how healthy we look compared to the young men eating the king's food. Then you can decide whether or not to let us continue eating our diet.' So the attendant agreed to try Daniel's suggestion.
"At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his friends looked healthier and better nourished than any of others in the king's training program. So after that, the guard let them eat their own food... When the 3-year training program was completed, all the young men were brought to King Nebuchadnezzar, who talked with each one individually. None impressed the king as much as Daniel and his 3 friends. So they were each promoted to positions in the king's service." Daniel 1:8b-16, 18-19
HOW TO MAKE A CASE TO AN AUTHORITY
- Develop a reputation for being responsible
- Be humble not belligerent
- Don't be deceptive or manipulate
- Appeal to their goals & interests
- Choose the right place, time, & words
- Trust God if they reject your appeal
ACTION PLAN: Think of a situation in your life where you were in this kind of situation. Go through each of these 6 steps and write down how you followed or not followed each one. Write these steps down or memorize them so that you have them with you next time you are in this situation.
WHAT GAVE DANIEL THE COURAGE TO STAND ALONE? FOUR THINGS YOU NEED TO REMEMBER WHEN PRESSURED TO CONFORM
- I have Jesus with me
- I have the Holy Spirit in me
- I have the promises of God to me
- I have God's family around me
"Don't become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That's not partnership; that's war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God's holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. God himself put it this way: 'I'll live in them, and move into them; I'll be their God and they'll be my people. So leave the corruption and compromise ... I'll be a Father to you and you will be my sons and daughters!' With promises like this, dear friends, let's make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let's make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God!" 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 (Mes)