Have you ever been faced with a decision that might change your life forever? What if you had to make decision to do or not do something that conflicted with your faith and personal convictions?
In 1924, a young Scottish Olympic runner had to make such a decision. He truly felt his running glorified God. However, his Olympic event, the 100 Meter dash, was scheduled on a Sunday. Liddell felt it would go against his personal beliefs and convictions to run on a Sunday. So he took a stand and refused despite strong pressure from the Prince of Wales and the British Olympic Committee. He did, however, run the 400 meter race, which was scheduled on the following Thursday and won the Gold Medal. He stood by his convictions not to run on the Sabbath and through his perseverance and determination still brought glory to both Scotland and God. Of course, God's glory is all that really matters, but it's a good story. Eric Liddell's story is told in the 1981 movie, Chariots of Fire. It would be a great family night movie.
Throughout history, there have been many, like Eric, who have had to take a stand for God and their personal convictions. Let's look at a few of these in scripture.
Elijah – (1 Kings 18) Queen Jezebel was killing all of God's prophets and forcing everyone to either worship the Baals or die. A great drought was brought to the land because they turned their hearts from God. Elijah was the last of God's prophets still standing in the end. After three years of no rain, God brought lone prophet Elijah and King Ahab with his 850 Baal prophets together on the top of Mt Carmel for a great showdown. Which “god” would send fire down from heaven and burn the bull offering? The Baal prophets screamed and shouted all day for Baal to come. They danced around, acted foolish and even cut themselves to gain Baal's attention. Yet nothing happened. Elijah steps up to his alter, the alter of God, and ask the people to water it down. Pour water over it not one time, but three times. Drench it. Then he simply prays. No big show. No theatrics, just an acknowledge that God is the one true God. Fire comes down from heaven and burns the offering, the alter, the stones surrounding the alter and all the water. Needless to say, Elijah took his stand. God was glorified and the people repented.
Daniel – In Daniel's time, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon besieged Jerusalem and overthrew it. Some Israelites were chosen from the royal family to go back to Babylon and work for the king. Daniel was won of those men. He worked well and he did everything the king asked him to do, yet, he never forgot his One True God and daily prayed at his open window to the Lord. Some of Babylon were very jealous of Daniel's relationship of respect with the king. They tricked the king into declaring all men must bow down and worship and pray to him or suffer death. Even with the threat of death, Daniel continued to pray each day to the One True God. The men who arranged the new law forced the king to act upon it with Daniel. Daniel was thrown into a den full of lions. The next morning, all were surprised to see Daniel still alive in the den. God had shut the mouth of the lions. The king was so happy to see Daniel alive. He too became a believer in the One True God. By taking a stand and refusing to compromise his beliefs, Daniel brought glory to God and converts too.
So what about you? Is there something you are willing to give all for?
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4 (NIV)
“But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15b (NIV)
God wants us to choose him. He wants us to stand firm and be brave and bold.
Do not be afraid to take a stand for what you believe in. God is always with you. He never leaves you nor forsakes you. ( Deuteronomy 31:8)
There will come a day when all will be judged according to their thoughts actions and deeds. You do not want to be like the church of Laodicea. They never made up their mind to go one way or another. They tried to have it all. However Jesus says in John 14 :6 (NIV), ” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
“These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:14-16 (NIV)
What will you do with your life to glorify God? Take a stand. Be hot for God!