The Bread That Impacts Culture
Earlier this year as I was spending time with the Lord, I kept hearing the sound of two swords clashing together. As I pressed into what I was hearing, I felt it was the sound of two kingdoms meeting, the kingdom of darkness, and the kingdom of light.
Many have felt a lot of turbulence in the atmosphere, some of it easily defined by the conflict and controversy that continues in our nation and many other nations as well. It has certainly been a time of clashing ideologies and beliefs in many arenas.
In the midst of the clashing, I sense that the Lord is sifting and shaking everything. Though it may not be fun at the time, the Lord’s shaking is always a good thing. In describing this sifting and shaking I also heard the word “threshing” that is used to describe what they did with wheat in Bible times. Threshing means: the process of loosening the edible part of cereal grain (or other crop) from the scaly, inedible chaff that surrounds it.
God is applying His “threshing” to our hearts. In this threshing process of our hearts, He is separating the edible from what is inedible. As we live our lives as those representing the kingdom of light, we need to be carriers of the “edible”.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes as I browse social media or listen to the news I see and hear things that can cause my emotions to rise. The temptation to type a sharp word or put someone in their place so easily occurs. I believe in standing up for godly convictions, but the way we stand up for what we believe is so very important. God is shaking what can be shaken even within our hearts, so that His kingdom shines forth brightly. Is the bread I offer the world edible, or inedible? Will they take a taste and want to spit it out, or will they come back for more? Do I represent the heart, intention and integrity of the kingdom I am serving? The Lord is sifting and shaking all around us. He is sifting and shaking nations, governments, the lost, and the hearts of those who have called Him Lord.
As I asked the Lord for the way we should position our hearts for what He is doing, He reminded me of Daniel. Daniel was placed in a very difficult situation to serve King Nebuchanezzar of Babylon. But, God gave Daniel wisdom in how to navigate his time with Nebuchanezzar, and the result was that Daniel’s life became bread that was “edible” in the process. His life impacted the king in a powerful way. Here are some things we can learn from Daniel:
1. Daniel refused to compromise his convictions. Whether it was eating healthy fruits and vegetables, or refusing to bow to a pagan king, Daniel was steadfast in his commitment to righteousness, even at the threat of losing his life.
2. Daniel operated with honor and integrity. Even though Daniel was placed into situations against his will and beliefs, he continued to operate with honor and integrity. He practiced the art of making a respectful appeal when he was required to do something against his beliefs. Even a wicked king showed favor to Daniel because he saw something different in him.
3. Daniel relied on the power of God. When given the challenge of telling King Nebuchanezzar his dream and the interpretation of his dream, Daniel knew that God was the only one who could fulfill this bizarre request. Daniel urged his friends to plead to God for the dream and interpretation, and God gave Daniel a vision in the night revealing the mystery to him.
4. Daniel’s life became bread that even a wicked king would want to eat. King Darius issued a decree requiring everyone to worship him, and him alone, for 30 days. Daniel, of course, refused and continued to worship the one true God. Some of the king’s servants told the king about Daniel’s refusal, and reminded him of his decree. The decree had stated that anyone refusing to obey would be thrown into the lion’s den. The scripture tells us that the king was greatly distressed and made every effort to rescue Daniel, but the law said that a decree or edict could not be changed. The king’s true heart and fondness towards Daniel and his God can best be seen in this statement he made as they threw Daniel into the lion’s den, “May your God, whom you serve continually rescue you!” (Dan. 6:16b)
5. Daniel’s courageous life shifted the course of nations. King Darius was so impressed with Daniel’s life and the protection of the God he served, he wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land requiring them to fear and reverence the God of Daniel. (Dan. 6:26) Think of it. One man’s commitment to lead a godly, courageous, yet humble life, caused a ripple effect that changed kings and nations. I’m so challenged by Daniel’s life and thankful that he gave us an example of remaining true to convictions at the same time showing honor and humility.
As we continue in the shifting and shaking process, we can be thankful that we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. We can also be thankful that “He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it”. (Phil. 1:6) Part of that good work may be threshing out the inedible parts of our lives that don’t line up with His kingdom and purposes. But, the very good result will be lives that shape, influence, and impact the culture around us with the kingdom of light.