Standing Out

Christian soldiers don’t enjoy conflict. Just because we are covered in divine armor and armed to the teeth with the Sword of the Spirit which is “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12) does not mean we lust for conflict; conflict finds us.

A Christian merely draws a line of submission in the sand. We have decided to deny our self, take up our cross, and follow Jesus (Mark 8:34). It may cost us our friends (2 Timothy 4:10) or even our family members (Matthew 10:34ff) but Jesus is always first. The world may see this as harsh but Jesus calls it true love. It makes the Christian stand out.

This is especially so in today’s politically correct, hyper-tolerant, tossed-to-and-fro society. Any defense of objective truth is “judgmental,” and subject to ridicule and compromise. Dare we voice such convictions in the public forum, we risk everything from censure and condemnation to lawsuits and financial ruin. Unfortunately, too few are willing stand up.

Long ago, the peculiarity of three godly men was easily seen under Babylonian rule (Daniel 3). They didn’t pander to public popularity. They didn’t sell their wares in religious theme parks. They didn’t picket, protest, or put on prayer vigils. They didn’t stir up chaos and foment rebellion, or preach wild-eyed, “the-sky-is-falling” sermons from street corners. They didn’t have to do any of these things to be conspicuously different. When Nebuchadnezzar set up his golden image and commanded everyone to bow down, all they did was stand; you could not miss them!

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Ephesians 6:13).