Friday, November 16, 2012

Yielded bodies

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Daniel 3:19-30

TO CHEW ON: "Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, 'Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king's word and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God.'" Daniel 3:28

I love the way Nebuchadnezzar spells out what these three rebellious officials have done this day. He says, in effect, 'You thumbed your noses at my law, yielding your very bodies in order to obey God, whom I now see is greater than I am.' Not only had these men  faced the possibility of giving up their positions and reputations but their physical lives to stay loyal to God.

Similar sacrifice is found throughout scripture. In the Old Testament
  • Caleb and Joshua followed the Lord to the extent that their fellow Israelites were about to stone them when when they defended Moses after their spy mission - Numbers 14:10; 32:12.
  • King Josiah promised and then made good on his promise to follow God with all his heart, soul and might - 2 Kings 23:3,25.
  • In the New Testament Paul models that kind of surrender, facing stoning, riots, and imprisonments to spread the gospel.

Surrender to the point of physical pain—even death—is foreign to us, or to me at least. I wonder how I would have done under the pressures of Nebuchadnezzar's edict or the hounding that the first Christians lived with. No doubt the spirits of these stalwarts were first steeled in the mental, emotional and spiritual way Paul talks about in:

Romans 12:1
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 5:24
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
2 Timothy 2:21
Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

PRAYER: Dear God, you are not asking me to yield my body to a fiery furnace, but to honour You and achieve Your purposes in my own setting. Help me to discern what Your purposes are, and to give myself, soul, spirit and body, to You. Amen.

MORE: What does this mean practically

Perhaps...
- Spending time in prayer or reading instead of watching TV.
- Foregoing some physical indulgence and giving the money away.
- Befriending a stranger instead of hanging out with my friends.
- Saying 'no' to that second helping of food.

Ouch!

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