If the path you’re going down looks wrong to other people, then they’ll probably tell you about it.
A leader at the church my son Max attends questioned the direction he was taking. If Max focused on his studies, and it took him away from coming to church or doing Bible study, was it the right thing to do? He asked.
I wondered what the leader would think about Max’s brother, George, going into a career that requires him to work on Sundays.
Even as a mother who knows her son’s passions and their faith commitment, a little thought nagged me. If work takes them away from meeting regularly with other Christians, then it seems that neglecting their faith will inevitably follow.
I remember my father talking about a friend who often didn’t come to church on Sunday morning because he was working on establishing his business. My Dad was concerned.
It is right to consider our priorities and how we can worship God and spend time with his people. My point here, though, is not to argue whether it is right or wrong to work on a Sunday. Instead, it is to understand that even if it looks like a person is going in the wrong direction, that isn’t always necessarily the case. We really don’t know what’s going on on the inside.
People will question whether you are making the right choice, especially if work can appear to conflict with your Christian activities, but it doesn’t have to mean it is the wrong choice.
Maybe a family member or people at church frown on the decision you have made to attend a secular college. Maybe the practices of the college you attend are too liberal and lack Christian principles; people think you have adopted them too.
When we look at the story of Daniel, we find Daniel was not only immersed in a pagan environment where he had to learn everything about it, but he looked completely different, too. Daniel had a new identity.
Nebuchadnezzar gave Daniel a different name. To change someone’s name was to exercise authority over them and change their destiny. This was part of the assimilation process foreign rulers used over the people they had taken.
Daniel was given the name Belteshazzar. It was a name associated with a Babylonian god. And God had commanded his people not to have the names of other gods on your lips.
I’m sure to outsiders and even to his friends and family, Daniel looked, sounded like, behaved, and reacted like a Babylonian. They would not have recognized him.
However, Nebuchadnezzar may have changed what these young men looked like on the outside, but he could not change then on the inside.
Daniel’s heart focused on pleasing God.
And that’s the important point, because God doesn’t look at our outward appearance, he looks at our hearts.
So, however your training and the direction you’re going may look to other people, it is the orientation and condition of your heart that matters.
Your focus should be to please God only.
Whatever job you are in or college you are going into, you need to have a single purpose and plan to honor God.
You may look different to those you grew up with and went to church with. Do not concentrate on how you appear to other people, but pay attention to how your heart looks to God.
It’s not important how you appear on the outside, but what God sees on the inside.