ODJ: Standing Together

May 19, 2018 

READ: Daniel 3:1-30 

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend (Prov. 27:17).

Who we spend our time with matters. In school some of my friends were a bad influence on me, and my desire to fit in was leading me to act like everyone but Jesus.

Around that time, I became friends with a girl from my church who wasn’t impressed with the things I did to fit in with my school friends. I didn’t have to know her long before I noticed how her life reflected Christ. And soon I realised I wanted my life to reflect Him too!

My friend helped me keep my focus on Jesus in a world that doesn’t look or act like Him. Paul knew this reality well and warned believers not to “copy the behaviour and customs of this world” (Romans 12:2).

Unfortunately, living like the world is often easier than living like Christ. But it’s not impossible to be different, especially with the help of other believers. For example, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego together refused to worship the image Nebuchadnezzar had set up for his people (Daniel 3:12). They stood for God—no matter the cost. “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up” (vv.17-18).

The Holy Spirit helps us turn from sin and can also help us through other believers striving to grow in Christ’s love (Galatians 5:16-18; Hebrews 10:24-25). The author of Hebrews encouraged believers to “think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (10:24). Let’s strive for this as we seek the Spirit’s power to live like Jesus and encourage those around us to do the same.

—Julie Schwab

365-day plan: Proverbs 4:1-27

Read Acts 2:42-47 and consider what fellowship with other believers could look like. 
How are your friends being a good or a bad influence on you? What benefits might you find in life-giving friendships with committed believers in Jesus?