DANIEL 6:10-12: “But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help. So they went straight to the king and reminded him about his law. “Did you not sign a law that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions?” “Yes,” the king replied, “that decision stands; it is an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.” NLT
OBSERVATION: Am I willing to “Live out loud?” I am not advocating living life in a way that is boisterous or obnoxious. What I am referring to is a life of faith that is bold enough to be both seen and heard in the public square. Is my life of faith one that I share or do I hide it behind closed doors?
The story of Daniel and the lion’s den is probably one of the best-known stories in the Bible. Sometimes, when we are so familiar with a story, we tend to read over it without stopping and pondering what God is speaking to us through it today. As I was reading this familiar story this morning I thought of – “Living out loud.” I was challenged to examine my life, my actions, and my witness!
Recently, a movie was released entitled – “The Jesus Music.” It was a documentary film about the origins of the current Christian music industry and the artists who helped form it. When I gave my life to Jesus Christ in 1973, there was no Christian music industry. It was during the end of the Jesus Movement and Christian contemporary music was still in its infancy.
We can never recreate the days of our past but we can learn from them. As I wandered back into nostalgia, I began to think about those days when I was fresh out of high school and the entire world was before me. I had committed my life to Christ and was attending a church where the young Jesus people made up the majority of the congregation. I vividly remember these early days!
There were no computers, no cell phones, and no Christian concerts. We met at church two to three times a week to worship, pray for one another, and study the Word of God. It truly was an expression of the birth of the church on the Day of Pentecost.
- “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.” Acts of the Apostles 2:42 NLT
Yet, this was not our true focus. Our corporate meetings together were not centered around being blessed. They were times to be equipped so that we could go out and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I used to wear a cross made out of large nails around my neck. I eagerly shared Jesus with anyone who asked or even looked like they would listen. I truly was “Living out loud!”
Now, fast forward to today. I look back and wonder where this young man has gone. I look at the church and wonder where our passion for the lost has gone. I see believers meeting behind the safe confines of their churches. Yet, there are not many who today are “Living out loud!” We have grown timid amidst the constant criticism and cynicism of the world.
WE NEED TO BE MORE LIKE DANIEL ONCE AGAIN!
Daniel was told to pray to no one except the King. The men who opposed Daniel had tricked the King into signing a decree, which could not be revoked, and which would punish anyone with death in the lion’s den if they prayed to anyone else for 30 days. Daniel had a choice to make. Every day he would open the windows, face Jerusalem, and pray to the Lord Jehovah. Now, under this edict, what would he do?
Most of us would rationalize that we could still pray to the Lord with the windows closed. God would still hear us and we would not make a scene or risk our lives. Yet, that is not what Daniel did. Daniel lived out his life of faith for all to see. He did not hide his devotion to the Lord. He did not change his daily worship and time of prayer. He continued to “Live out loud,” even at the risk of his own life!
We all know how the story ends. God miraculously delivered Daniel. Yet, the annals of faith are filled with those saints who “Lived out loud,” even when it cost them everything!
- “…But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.” Hebrews 11:35-39 NLT
Daniel was willing to lay his life on the line for his faith. He would not hide his light under a bushel. He had no guarantee that he would be delivered from the lion’s den. The saints above were not. Yet, they all received the commendation of faith. And, everyone who witnessed their life saw the Gospel of Jesus Christ “lived out loud” in the arena of faith.
It is time to come out of hiding. It is time to recapture the boldness of the Jesus Movement. It is time to – “Live out loud.” We cannot worry about what others will think. We cannot worry about the consequences that “living out loud” will bring. We must be willing to let our light shine brightly – both in what we say and how we live. The world needs to both see and hear the Gospel. And, if we do not do it, who will?
- “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:14 NLT
Lord, pour out Your Holy Spirit upon my life and the life of Your Church! Grant us the grace to – “Live out loud!”
In Jesus Name!