Let’s face it: In our modern culture, Christians have gotten a bad reputation for judging rather than loving. You may even wonder how to show God’s love to others when the values of the current culture differ so much from the values of your faith. However, God’s Church should be famous for kindness, compassion, empathy, and caring for the poor and justice.
In the book of Daniel, we see countless examples of how the prophet Daniel and his friends stood firm in their values while living in Babylon, a culture that tested their faith deeply. Based on the book of Daniel, today we are providing you with 4 steps we can all take to balance God’s law with God’s love.
WIN HEARTS, NOT ARGUMENTS
First, we see that Daniel gained favor in the King's court by looking out for others' interests. He knew that in order to use his influence in a culture that was against God, he needed to win hearts, not arguments. Like Daniel, in our culture we need to understand that we cannot antagonize others and influence them at the same time. We need to relate to others with wisdom and tact.
PICK YOUR BATTLES
Next, the book of Daniel shows us that you need to pick your battles in a culture of compromise. If you are a parent of teenagers, you likely know this well. You can't fight your family on everything. The best battle to fight is the battle of the heart. If you try to fight every battle, those you fight with will eventually tune you out and you'll lose the war. So, connect before you correct.
EARN THE NEXT CONVERSATION
As Daniel rose through the ranks in the King's court, he gained influence by earning the right to have spiritual conversations. See, Daniel showed respect and honor to the Persian and Babylonian rulers he served under. Daniel's respectful tone towards the king actually paved the way for him to have other conversations of great influence in the kingdom. He lived out his convictions - even when they were unpopular - and loved people well at the same time.
Truly, Daniel knew that how you act is often more important than what you say. If talk is cheap, then demonstrating love well through sacrifice, compassion, empathy, and listening is powerful. Your actions can actually move hearts and change lives.
PLAY THE LONG GAME TO LOVE WELL.
By the end of the book of Daniel, we see that the prophet was able to serve in four administrations under the rule of four different kings. Since Daniel built bridges in his relationships instead of tearing them down, he eventually saw a miracle. See, Cyrus, the final king Daniel served under, was open to God. Daniel's loving influence led to Cyrus allowing God's people to return to Jerusalem from their exile. At this point in Daniel's life, he was 90 years old! So, if we want to show God's love to others like Daniel, we need to play the long game.
Our dream for you is that your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors will see God's love through you. In all Daniel's relationships, his goal was to win hearts, not arguments. He picked his battles. Daniel knew you have to connect with people in relationships before you can correct their actions. Ultimately, Daniel played the long game to love well, covering all his relationships and conversations with wisdom and tact. So, as your next step, think about who God is calling you to love well right now. We pray that you will have the courage to take one of these four steps towards showing that person God's love today.
To continue learning how you can stand firm in a culture of compromise, check out these additional resources from Liquid Church's series, The Daniel Dilemma:
- Article: Standing Firm When Your Faith Is Tested. We live in a world that is increasingly hostile toward God and biblical truth. So, how do you stand firm when your faith is under fire? Click here to read.
- Message: Grace & Truth. In part 1 of The Daniel Dilemma, Pastor Tim Lucas introduces us to a young man forced to live in a fast-changing and godless society-- the prophet Daniel. Daniel persevered in a corrupt culture that closely resembles our own—and emerged as an influential force in God’s redemptive plan. Click here to watch.