In a world that encourages us to conform, being a christian is tough. In Luke 9:23, Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” In that time, ‘taking up a cross’ meant facing the pain and humiliation of Roman Crucifixion. Jesus willingly laid down his life to save us and asks us to do the same, committing our lives wholeheartedly to Him and accepting any hardships it may bring. Though some Christians are still persecuted harshly in some parts of the world, we should feel blessed and even more so, encouraged, to follow God knowing we don’t have the fear of a horrific death looming over us. Still, even the least of persecution can be hard to overcome, which is why staying in God’s word and encouraging each other is essential in keeping strong faith.
The Bible is full of characters we can relate to and learn from. In terms of courage, Daniel is one of my favorites. Daniel gives an awe inspiring example of a godly person who lived courageously and obediently for God while still earning respect from the unbelieving Babylonians.
Daniel and his friends Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah (or as they are better known as, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) remained bold and non-moving from their faithfulness to God. From refusing food from the king, to refusing to worship false gods, being thrown into a furnace and a lion’s den, the fear of pain and death were no match for their obedience to God. Because of their faithfulness, God gave them all knowledge and understanding of all kinds, and Daniel was given the ability to understand dreams and visions. (Daniel 1:17)
Most people are familiar with Daniel’s story of the lion’s den, and how God rescued him, however, my favorite part of the story is before he was actually thrown in the lion’s den. Daniel prayed daily 3 times a day. When some of the other administrators of the kingdom, who knew of Daniel’s dedication to prayer, grew envious of his success and relationship with the king, they sought to have him killed, so they convinced the king to sign a decree that anyone who prays to a god or human being besides the king will be thrown into the lion’s den. Daniel, knowing about the decree, still went to his upstairs room and prayed 3 times a day, giving thanks to God just as before. If that isn’t a good example of courage, what is?
Daniel knew that there was a pretty good chance he was going to die a pretty painful death, but his faith never wavered. Not to mention, the bible doesn’t say he went and prayed to God for help, but he gave thanks just as before. (Daniel 6:10)
We can learn so much from Daniel, but a few of my favorite takeaways are that God rewards obedience, (Psalms 19:9-11, Deuteronomy 28:1) and that spiritual courage is sustained through an all knowing God.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6