I’ve been reading the Bible in chronological order, and for several weeks I have been immersed in the books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, which all took place around the same time. Jeremiah was the rejected prophet inside the walls of Jerusalem during the 20 year siege, Ezekiel was in exile in Babylon and prophesied to God’s people there, and Daniel, also a young exile from Jerusalem, ended up being in charge of the whole Babylonian empire, while still keeping his faith.
These books combined take up a substantial section of the Old Testament, which highlight it’s historical and spiritual importance.
Today as I was reading it struck me that Daniel was a great example for Christians today, in how he was very much immersed into the culture and society of the great Babylon empire, but still kept his faith. Daniel was trained up for 3 years (a Uni degree!), in the ways of Babylon, in order to serve the king. He was even re-named after the king of Babylon’s own god (see Daniel 4:8). So he took on a new name (like a Hollywood actor or singer might), got qualified, and worked diligently for the organization which literally ruled the world.
If we compare Daniel to our society today, he is like a faithful Christian who works in the ‘secular’ wider world. He didn’t work in the temple – he didn’t work for a ‘Christian’ organization. He was very much God’s man on the inside. Immersed into the culture of the day.
Daniel is an excellent example for us Christians today. Sure, some of us are called to work in Christian organizations such as Christian radio stations, or make ‘Christian’ films. But most others will be called to be God’s man or woman out in the big wide world. There are many well known Hollywood actors, producers, directors, musicians, singers, Presidents of production companies and television networks, who maintain a strong faith. Sure they might make mistakes – but so do you. It’s just that your mistakes are not lived out in the public eye. But making mistakes doesn’t mean you have lost your faith.
If we want to change our society, if we desire to be the light in the darkness, we have to already be immersed into that darkness. Only then can we be a glowing witness for Christ. People are still people, and they will only listen to you if they feel they already know and respect you.
Today, whether in media or some other profession, we need to be integrated into the world while sticking to our faith. This is the only way true change happens – from the inside. But you have to be part of the system, on the inside first, before you will be able to influence and make a difference.
As far as keeping your faith in a secular world? Think again of Daniel, who although he suffered some tribulation early on, he stuck to his faith while serving the Babylonian empire, and ultimately it was his faith which brought him tremendous success in his career.
Can you relate?