The word “intentional” linked to “Christianity” was popularized around 20 or so years ago. Because there are so many people attending Church who are not Christian and because so many call themselves Christian yet live with one foot on the world (or perhaps both) and because often Church Membership is open to anyone, irrespective of their spiritual qualifications, so serious pastors and authors started to talk about “Intentional Christianity” or an “Intentional Christian”. Those who are intentional know they are intentional and seek to demonstrate their intentionality amongst each other and the world by showing they are one hundred percent for the Lord Jesus. In other words, they are those who prove their salvation, not by words but by lifestyle. It is not just what they do but why they do it … and lifestyle for them stretches beyond the visible. By this we mean that in both the private and public world one lives for the Lord Jesus Christ. These are those who know that they are not just on the stage of the world for people to look and see and evaluate their words by their actions … they are on the eternal stage with the eyes of the Judge of all the world seeing and evaluating. I am certain that you will agree that so many people declare themselves Christian who are actually foreigners to Jesus’ Kingdom. They might say they are Christian; they might wear a cross around their necks; they might have praying hands in their lapel; they might have a bumper sticker on their car … and they might think they are Christian but in truth, they are as pagan as the one who admits he or she is not a Christian. I shudder because so many people have false hope and fake assurance of heaven when they die. Maybe their Church or Spiritual Leader assured them of heaven because they were baptized, confirmed, made a Church member, sang in the choir, went to Sunday School, helped at the Church fate, etc. Jesus has the very best description of what a Christian is. He said:
Jn 3:3 “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
Even in those days this was misunderstood because it is a spiritual procedure so He explained it like this
Jn 3:5 “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
This is a spiritual birth or better stated, such a person has been birthed into the Kingdom of God by the Holy Spirit. It is then that one is made spiritually alive. The dead soul is resurrected unto eternal life and is in union with God, enjoying relationship with God, living for God, having Jesus as Lord and knowing for certain they are God’s own and destined to be with Him in glory one day. This is the person who will “Dare to be a Daniel” and his three friends demonstrated this in the furnace!
Da 3:27 … They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon. Because of their intentional faith
1) They experienced no harm in the fiery furnace … the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. Spiritually and eternally the Child of God fears no harm to the body for the body is temporal. You know that God protects your soul. He will not allow the enemy to touch your soul. He will care for it and protect it all the way to glory where a prepared home and resurrected body awaits.
2) It was this king who worshipped a plurality of gods who said … Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He did not know whom he praised. I will even venture to say that whatever he did was not received by God because praising God is only received by souls born again, for their “soul worship” is purified before it reaches the presence of the Eternal King in glory.
3) This king did not know what he was saying when he said … who has sent his angel and rescued his servants. You see, this “angel” was not an ordinary angel. This angel was the Angel of the Lord … often referred to as such in the Old Testament. He is the Pre-Incarnate Christ!
I was talking with a very dear sister this evening. She is going through some extremely difficult situations causing anxiety, fear and even hopelessness. As I feel for the sister I am so aware that even in her extreme struggling, our Lord is aware that His daughter is battling and feeling as if live is so fragile. He knows that even prayer is tough as the enemy plays mind games with her. He knows and because He knows He does feel and He does hold her (and you and me) in the palm of his hand … and as the vice grip claw of the bird on the overhead cable cannot be dislodged in the fiercest wind, so no one, not even the enemy can snatch her (you and me) out of His Almighty grasp.
4) This king had to admit defeat. They trusted in him and defied the king’s command. Granted the king had no union with their God, yet he acknowledged that they would rebel against his command in favor of honoring their God. They would not desert their God! How could they? They knew He was the only true God. You might be forced into such a situation one day. It might be with reference to same sex marriages or abortion or some other aspect that requires you deny the true God. Will you be as faithful? When you are He sees as holds you firm through that Valley of the Shadow of Death.
5) This king knew that these three men would give their lives before they worshipped another god (idol). They were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. This is intentional religion, and when God sees this He will hold that soul tightly through the furnace, molding and purifying it for service and glory.
Father, thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us as we travel through the furnace of life. Amen.