“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
Peer pressure has significant influence on us at every stage of life. Anytime we rationalize our behavior by claiming “everyone is doing it”, we are on the slippery slope of compromise. Christian leaders must mark their boundary lines well and predetermine their approaches to taking a stand for what they believe. Be proactive and plan ahead in order to effectively avoid slippery slopes. Taking a stand requires focus and discipline.
Black and white issues are usually quite easy to navigate; it’s the gray areas of life and leadership that can potentially detour us down the wrong path. Daniel is a wonderful example of a young leader who took a stand in order to honor God.
“But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel.” (Daniel 1:8-9 NLT)
Taking a stand is never easy. It requires sacrifice. In Daniel’s situation, he was giving up the best food the king had to offer in order to honor God’s dietary laws for the Jewish people. Daniel was a young man at this point of his exile. He was a prisoner in a foreign country and no one would have faulted him if he had just gone with the flow. Yet Daniel decided to take a stand for what he believed and trusted God with the outcome. Daniel wasn’t influenced by others, he took his stand based on what he knew was the right thing to do.
People respect leaders who take a stand. It is very interesting in this account of Daniel that his captors respected him and his decision. People are naturally drawn to strong leaders. The chief of staff overseeing the prisoners personally cared about Daniel’s well-being. He was impacted by Daniel’s stand.
What slippery slopes might keep you from taking a stand? It is very wise to identify them ahead of time so you’ll know how to deal with them when they come up. And they will come up. It’s much easier to set your boundary lines ahead of time to be prepared to take a stand for what you know is right before you find yourself on the edge of a slippery slope.
As a Christian leader, you will be tested by circumstances that will require you to decide if you will take a stand for what you believe. Life can be messy and complicated. It is not uncommon to find ourselves in situations where compromising would be considered acceptable by our peers.
Stand firm today by being sure your actions match what you say you believe. Others will respect you for it. Plan ahead in order to be prepared to take a stand for what you know is right.