Oct 9, 2023
The Old Testament book of Daniel opens with Jerusalem falling at
the hands of Nebuchadnezzar's army and Daniel and his friends
taken off to Babylon to live in exile. Much of the book then
describes what it looks like to live as exiles in a foreign land;
how they remain true to their convictions about God in a culture
that doesn't do the same.
So what is the application for you and me as we follow Jesus? The apostle Peter suggests that as Christians we aren't that much different then Daniel and his friends:
"Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul." ~ 1 Peter 2:11
Do you feel like a foreigner in the current culture? Have you
ever felt like an exile in your neighborhood? These are important
questions to wrestle with. If your allegiance is to King Jesus,
then we will undoubtedly feel a tension at times with how the
culture operates and how those around us live. Maybe the most
important question is this: Do I live more like Jesus or
more like the culture?
I found this observation made by John Stott regarding how Christians are to be different:
"I recently returned from India where I heard of a little Hindu girl brought up in a strict Hindu family, who had come across Christians. Somebody asked her one day what she thought a Christian was. She thought for a few moments and replied, "Well as far as I can see, a Christian is somebody who is different from everybody else." Would that it was true."
be a Christian means you are okay with being different.
Unfortunately that is not always the case. There is this strong
pull within all of us to "fit in" to
be like everyone else. Yet, we all agree, there are times when
to be like everyone else is simply wrong and calls us to
live in direct opposition to how Jesus wants us to live our lives.
The truth is, it's hard to live in Babylon...and that is what this
new series is going to explore.
The good news is that the book of Daniel reveals to us how God provides the resources and direction we need to live counter cultural lives. One of those resources is the community of Christians who are on the same journey; there other people living in Babylon who are trying to pursue the same Kingdom culture as you.
To begin this journey of living in Babylon, we have to make a determination right away. We have to hold true to our convictions about how God wants us to live our lives and then determine to be different. Here is why that matters: People who hold to their convictions and determine to be different change culture. Consider these words from Thomas J. Watson Jr.
"Strangely, the expounders of many of the great new ideas of history were frequently considered on the lunatic fringe for some or all of their lives. If one stands up and is counted, from time to time one may get knocked down. But remember this: a man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good."
To learn more about how to live in Babylon, make sure and check out episode one of Life in Babylon.