The Fiery Furnace of Popular Opinion
by Laurel J. Davis
Someone once said that Christians don’t need the world’s permission to do what God Almighty Himself commands us to do. If God said it, that settles it, there’s no need for a second opinion.
Of course, God’s “opinion” is not opinion at all but is the same as absolute truth, and that’s what He expects us to follow as it is revealed in His Word, the Bible. He is the Final Authority and the Ultimate Judge. Do as He says because He said so.
But oh, how hard it is to follow God’s way! How hard it is to obey His Word. How hard it is to stand up for Bible-based principles in the face of possible heat from everyone around you—including other professing Christians! How hard it is to live right, read your Bible, go to church, pray diligently, and be of service to others! How hard it is to put God first in your life and ministry when the world and even some Christians you know put Him last — and still seem to be quite content in life!
How hard it is stay on the “straight and narrow” when folks on the “wide and crooked” got a party goin’ on, or when they’re all standing at your sidelines trying to slow you down, trip you up, or sway you over.
But going through all that is just a part of what it means to “take up your cross” and follow Christ (Mark 8:34-38). The cross symbolizes not just Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for us but therefore also our own sacrifices for Him in this troubled, evil, and opinionated world. If Christ sacrificed His very life for us when we didn’t even deserve it, then we should be willing to sacrifice our lives for Him who really deserves it. We do that by obeying Him no matter how hot the opposition or the temptation gets.
Here’s the beautiful part about it. When God commands us to do something, He also gives us the strength to do it, and He remains right there with us to help us through whatever heat comes our way.
Popular opinion, on the other hand, can carry you only so far, and certainly no further than its next fickle, ever-changing trend.
But God and His Word never change, and He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Read about the three Hebrew youths in Daniel Chapter 3. Because they obeyed God’s command that “You shall have no other gods before Me” and refused to bow down to the Babylonian king like everyone else, they were tied up and thrown into the fiery furnace. That fiery furnace was turned up seven times hotter than usual. It was so hot in fact that the guards who threw them in were themselves overwhelmed by the heat and were killed in the process.
So what happened? The king looked in that furnace and saw — not just the three men he had originally thrown in there but a fourth Man! And they were all unbound, walking in the midst of the fire scorch-free!
There is no doubt who that fourth Man was. As that heathen king himself marveled, that fourth Man was “like unto the Son of God.”
Even if popular opinion gets as hot as that fiery furnace, if you put your trust in Christ and His Word and obey Him, He will be right in there taking the heat with you, keeping you unbound and on your feet in the midst of the fire, and He will bring you out scorch-free!
I have contemplated, for the last three days in fact, over how to handle a situation I've found myself in. If I handle it with all honesty, I run the chance of getting severely burned. Hmm... or maybe not. :::smile::: Obedience -- my suit of armor in the flames. Thanks for the Word. It was much needed.