Tag Archives: living God’s way

Refusing To Assimilate

When we go to Israel with our church, part of the trip is to see the sights. The other part is to get to know the people. We visit with Israeli’s, Muslims living in Israel, Christian Arabs, Messianic Jews, Jews and immigrants. The immigrants are brought in and placed in high rise apartment buildings where for a couple of years they are taught the language, the customs and the culture. Once completed, they become citizens. The process works well except for people from Ethiopia. They struggle to assimilate into a first world country. It’s difficult for Ethiopians to go from a rural, agrarian lifestyle to the high paced world of what we are accustomed to live in. They actually have their own building, farm land and a different time table to help them adjust since they don’t readily accept the culture.

In Daniel 1, King Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem and took the best looking, brightest young men of Israel back to Babylon. Daniel was among those captured. The king said, “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men. Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon” (NLT). He was trying to assimilate them into Babylonian culture. Most men were indoctrinated, but Daniel and his three friends refused to assimilate. They showed that it is possible to live and learn in a culture without accepting it and allowing it to change your beliefs.

Romans 12:2 says, “Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes” (TPT). We live in a culture that is trying to get us to change our beliefs, our way of thinking and our way of living. It is trying to get the Word of God to conform to its standards rather than the

other way around. We cannot allow ourselves to be shaped into its mold which is why we must be transformed from the inside out. We can go through all the indoctrination of our culture and still live a life that is holy and acceptable to Christ. In order to have the resolution that Daniel had, we must be empowered by the Holy Spirit and have a steady diet of God’s Word going into our mind. It’s not easy to do, but is necessary as believers to live according to God’s laws and customs rather than the world’s.

Photo by Gabriel Rodrigues on Unsplash

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An Elijah Moment

As I stood on top of Mount Carmel looking across the valley, I remembered the story of Elijah where the land hadn’t seen rain in three years. The now fertile valley was dry and bare then. King Ahab was looking for grass to save his horses from dying of starvation. Elijah, whom the king wanted dead, told him to gather all the prophets of Baal and to meet him on top of Mount Carmel. The prophets of Baal made an altar and so did Elijah. They were to pray and ask for fire to ignite the altar. The god who answered would be the real god. After the prophets of Baal had prayed all day with no fire, Elijah poured water on his altar three times then called down fire from Heaven. It consumed the altar from top to bottom drying up all the water as well.

In 1 Kings 18:21 Elijah addressed them, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” (NLT) When I read that, I can’t help but internalize it. Our lives are a constant battle between our flesh and our spirit. We waver between wanting to give into the desires of the flesh and doing what God requires. As long as we go between them, we are miserable as Paul described in Romans 7. Also, according to James 1:8, it also makes us unstable in all our ways. That’s not the way that God wants us to live. In order to live His way, we need to have an Elijah moment in our lives where we force ourselves to choose the way God wants us to live.

Colossians 3:5 says, “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.” We need to put to death the things that we have put before God. Verse 10 tells us, “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” We all have this choice to make. Either we will continue to live unstable, idolatrous lives or we will put on the new nature that’s been given to us. It starts with calling down fire from Heaven into our lives consuming the things that are not of God. It’s a continuous process, but it starts with an Elijah moment.

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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