Courage: “But if not”
Cour·age [kur-ij] | noun | the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery; to have the courage of one's convictions, to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, esp. in spite of criticism. Dictionary.com
In the past year or so, when I have been praying for people, I have often asked God to give them courage in the face of difficult decisions and intense pressure they are up against. In a society that has largely protected Christianity, courage has been all but unnecessary. But increasingly, Western society is showing itself to be hostile to true faith in Christ, and believers are being called upon to make courageous and costly decisions to maintain their integrity and testimony—to act in accordance with their convictions and beliefs in spite of criticism and even persecution.
We are in a 12-week series in the Book of Daniel titled Resolved! Living for Christ When You’re the Only One Who Is. If you missed the first two messages, you can catch up on our website. As we look at Daniel 3 this Sunday, we will hear the well-known account of the three young teens who defied the king’s order and refused to bow before the golden statue he erected. For their defiance, they were sentenced to death and cast into a furnace. I know you know how that turned out, but don’t miss that the critical moment in the story comes before their miraculous rescue, when God gave them the courage to stand against the king and declare, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18 ESV). That’s courage! To be able to say, “But if not…” In other words, “God can save me, turn this around, or make it right, but if he doesn’t, no matter what, I’m not serving or bowing down to anyone but him.” And then to bravely face the consequences.
While it is unlikely any of us will face martyrdom for our faith, we are still confronted daily with decisions to live for Christ or not. This narrative will compel us to make our own “but if not” declaration in light of the choices we will face. Will you have courage in your convictions and say: I’ll live for Jesus when things go my way, but if not, I’ll still live for Jesus?
Resolved! Living for Christ when you’re the only one who is
Courage: “But if not”
Pastor Todd Dugard // Daniel 3
September 23, 2018
I’ll live for Jesus when things go my way, but if not, I’ll still live for Jesus…
...even when I’m mocked for my faith (v. 1–7)
...even when I’m falsely accused (v. 8–12)
...even when I’m under intense pressure (v. 13–23)
Because I want to give God room to work in my life or in my death (v. 24–30)