By Ngozi Nwoke
Do you know anybody who is different for God? The world may be full of wickedness, but there are many people who are different for Christ. They may not outnumber the wicked, but they are there and are increasing. This article recaptures men who despite all odds remained faithful to God and were different.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us – Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)
“Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” – Romans 11:3-4 (NKJV)
There is a great crowd of witnesses who had passed through this world, overcame the enemy and were different for God. These people are watching us to see how we run our own race. If they made it being different for the Lord, you too can make it.
Elijah thought he was the only one left standing for God, but God corrected him that He had seven thousand men who have not bowed their knees to Baal. So if you think it is difficult standing for Jesus, you being the only one, know that God truly has many people who have not bowed their knees to the devil. You are not alone.
Let’s look at some of the witnesses whose acts were recorded in the bible.
Daniel was a man who was different from the beginning to the end. First, he purposed not to defile himself with the king’s food but chose to drink water and eat only vegetables. God honoured him and his friends and made them to look better than those who were eating the king’s food (Daniel 1:8-16). Then in Daniel 6, Daniel distinguished himself from the other governors and they envied him. They tried to find charges against him but they found none. They then resorted to charging him concerning the law of God. Daniel chose to be different in-spite of the lion’s den that was waiting for him. He remained faithful to God, praying as he used to up till the time of his arrest. They threw him into the lions’ den for being different but God delivered and honoured him.
Three Hebrew boys
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were Daniel’s friends and were also in charge of the affairs over the province of Babylon. In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold image and demanded that everyone in Babylon should worship the image at the sound of the instruments and music, and that anyone who disobeyed the instruction would be cast into the burning fiery furnace. These three Hebrew boys in obedience to God’s word that we should worship no other god (Exodus 20:3-5), did not worship the image at the sound of the instruments and music, and they were reported. They were given another opportunity to save their lives, but they refused to bow choosing rather to die being different for God. They threw them into the furnace and the fire killed the men that threw them in but did nothing to them. Even the smell of the fire was not on them.
They said something remarkable before they threw them into the fire. They said, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” – Daniel 3:16-18 (NKJV).
They believed that God would deliver them but at the same time were ready to die in case God chooses not to deliver them. Those who try to save their lives lose it, but those who lose their lives for Christ’s sake will find it. But then what will it profit you if you gain the whole world and lose your soul? (Matthew 16:25-26)
Joseph believed in God’s destiny for him as revealed to him through dreams. However, his initial experiences were totally different from his dreams. His movements from pit to Potiphar’s house to prison before getting to the palace were downward movements that did not agree with his dreams of greatness (Genesis 37:5-11). Yet, throughout his ‘wilderness journey’ he remained faithful and different for God.
Potiphar’s wife wanted him to commit adultery contrary to God’s word, but he chose to flee leaving his garment in the process, rather than do a great wickedness and sin against God (Genesis 39). This act of his earned him a place in prison. But the Lord was with him, gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison and made whatever he did to prosper.
Note that God didn’t deliver him from the prison then; rather He went with him, stayed with him and blessed him there.
Moses had a golden spoon in his mouth as a prince of Egypt, but chose to let go of it; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin, regarding the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt (Hebrews 11:24-26). This act of his earned him exile from Egypt (Acts 7:29). However, his decision led him to become a great prophet of God; he saw God’s form and talked to Him face to face, which no other prophet had the privilege of doing (Numbers 12:6-8).
In 1 Samuel 17, when every other Israelite was ridden by fear, exhibiting lack of trust in God, David chose to be different. David belittled Goliath (the challenge), holding unto God’s faithfulness and his testimonies and God delivered Goliath into his hands. He went in the name of the Lord and conquered. He stood for God and glorified the name of the Lord before their enemies. Friend, dare to be different and glorify the name of Jesus.
The Disciples of Christ were obviously different for Christ, to the point they were called Christians (Christ-like) in Antioch (Act 11:26). At one time, Peter and John were charged not to teach in the name of Jesus again. They asked the leaders to judge whether it was right before God to listen to them more than to God. And when they returned to the other disciples, they reported the threats of the chief priests and elders. Interestingly, instead of deciding to obey the leaders, they went into prayers asking God for boldness to continue to stand for Christ, preaching the word of God and that signs and wonders may be done through the same name ‘Jesus Christ’. And God granted them their request (Acts 4:18-31).
What are we picking here?
Even if you are to be the only one, remain so. You came into this world alone; you will leave alone and stand before the judgment throne alone. God deals with us on individual basis. He judges us based on our personal work with Him.
So, even if it will cost you all you have including your life, dare to be different for Jesus. God will always honour who honours Him. He will never forsake nor leave you (Hebrews 13:5).
At all times have the same attitude the three Hebrew boys had – ‘even if He does not deliver us we will not bow down’
Jesus stood for us first.
Jesus Christ for the sake of our salvation and reconciliation back to God, while we were yet sinners died for us (Romans 5:6-11). He died the most shameful death that we may live. He left all the glory in heaven and took the form of man for my sake and your sake and became obedient to death, even the death on the cross (Philippians 2:5-7).
He first loved us (1 John 4:19), for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son Jesus that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). And if you love Him you will obey His commands (John 14:15). One of such instructions is that you should not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. You are to come out from among them and be separate and God will receive you (2 Corinthians 6:14-17).