Undaunted Faithfulness

Finding the Courage to Obey

By Charles F. Stanley
  • July 14, 2017

At some point in our lives, we all face fearful situations. But if we yield to what we know is wrong, our lives will be filled with entanglements and trouble. Therefore, we must consider the source of our desires, learn to discern the difference between good and evil, and have the courage to say no whenever something is contrary to God’s will and Word.

When Peter and John healed a lame man, the Jewish rulers were infuriated and commanded them not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But they courageously refused, saying, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).

This is the kind of courage God desires for all of us—obedience to Him without fear of what others may think or do. Instead of being frail Christians who base our decisions on the present situation, let’s become followers of Christ who hold firmly to God’s standards of right and wrong.

Biblical Examples of Courage

Joseph (Gen. 39:6-10). When Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt, he was purchased by Potiphar, who eventually put him in charge of his entire household. Because Potiphar’s wife was attracted to him, she repeatedly tried to seduce him. But Joseph refused, saying, “How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” (v. 9). Although his refusal to yield to temptation landed him in jail when Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of rape, God used the situation to elevate him to a place of authority second only to Pharaoh.

Daniel (Dan. 1:8-16). After Daniel was taken into captivity in Babylon, the king ordered that he and his three friends be given food from his table. But Daniel didn’t want to defile himself with food that had been offered to idols, so he asked the commander if they might have vegetables and water. When the commander objected, Daniel wisely suggested that he test them for ten days to see how the new diet affected their appearance. At the end of the allotted time, Daniel and his friends looked healthier than all the other youths. God honored Daniel’s courageous choice and protected him from defiling himself with the king’s food.

When Daniel was much older, he faced another challenge (Dan. 6:4-24). By this time he was one of the highest officials in the land, and the other commissioners were jealous of him. They convinced the king to pass an edict that anyone who makes a petition to any other god but the king be thrown into a lion’s den. Knowing the consequences, Daniel continued to pray to the Lord three times a day and shortly thereafter was thrown into a den of hungry lions. But once again the Lord protected him and closed the lions’ mouths.

When you face temptation, remember to meditate upon Scripture, as it is our greatest defense against disobedience. The Lord’s promises help us trust and obey Him, knowing He will handle all the consequences (Isa. 41:10-12). Prayer and meditation are our daily defense as we humble ourselves before God, read His Word, talk to Him about our situations, and ask for His help. And never forget—the indwelling Holy Spirit empowers us to resist temptation and obey God when we remain open to His leading.

This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message The Courage to Say 'No,' which airs this weekend on TV.

Related Topics:  Temptation  |  Obedience  |  Faithfulness

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19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge;

20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard."

6 So he left everything he owned in Joseph's charge; and with him there he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.

7 It came about after these events that his master's wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, Lie with me."

8 But he refused and said to his master's wife, Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge.

9 There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?"

10 As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her.

8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.

9 Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials,

10 and the commander of the officials said to Daniel, I am afraid of my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink; for why should he see your faces looking more haggard than the youths who are your own age? Then you would make me forfeit my head to the king."

11 But Daniel said to the overseer whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah,

12 Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink.

13 Then let our appearance be observed in your presence and the appearance of the youths who are eating the king's choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see."

14 So he listened to them in this matter and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king's choice food.

16 So the overseer continued to withhold their choice food and the wine they were to drink, and kept giving them vegetables.

4 Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him.

5 Then these men said, We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God."

6 Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows: King Darius, live forever!

7 All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the high officials and the governors have consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions' den.

8 Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked."

9 Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction.

10 Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.

11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God.

12 Then they approached and spoke before the king about the king's injunction, Did you not sign an injunction that any man who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, is to be cast into the lions' den?" The king replied, The statement is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked."

13 Then they answered and spoke before the king, Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day."

14 Then, as soon as the king heard this statement, he was deeply distressed and set his mind on delivering Daniel; and even until sunset he kept exerting himself to rescue him.

15 Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, Recognize, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or statute which the king establishes may be changed."

16 Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions' den. The king spoke and said to Daniel, Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you."

17 A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing would be changed in regard to Daniel.

18 Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him.

19 Then the king arose at dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions' den.

20 When he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?"

21 Then Daniel spoke to the king, O king, live forever!

22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime."

23 Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den and no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

24 The king then gave orders, and they brought those men who had maliciously accused Daniel, and they cast them, their children and their wives into the lions' den; and they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

10 Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

11 Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.

12 You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent.

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