Keep Your Windows Open
Mention Daniel and most of us think of the lions’ den. But he had a lot more troubles. Daniel had been deported and held captive in Babylon. He was held there away from his family and his friends.
Many of us can appreciate his dilemma. At times, we too have been away from our homes and all that we hold dear. We too live in the midst of a “crooked and perverse generation” (Phil 2:15). His situation speaks to our condition, when we must work, and sometimes live, with others who do not share our values and our concerns. How do we survive in this environment?
Throughout his captivity, Daniel never forgot who he was. It was his custom to keep the windows of his roof chamber open toward Jerusalem (Dan 6:10). He lived in Babylon; he dreamed of Jerusalem. His body was in Babylon; his heart in Jerusalem. It would have been easy to lose the vision, to shut the windows and to give up. A weak man would have. Daniel was no weak man.
The key to survival in a discouraging situation is to keep your windows open. Do not allow temporal things to blind you to eternal truths (2 Cor 4:18-20). Keep your eyes set on heaven, regardless of where you find yourself on earth (Col 3:1-4).
Prayer is a window to keep open. It will help you retain a personal relationship with God. Frequent, fervent prayer to the Father will strengthen your resolve. Do not quit praying.
Bible study is another window. Store God’s word in your heart to prevent sin (Psa 119:11). Drink deeply from the fount of truth. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (Col 3:16).
The fellowship of saints is a vital window to keep open. It seems only natural that fellow aliens and strangers (1Pet 2:11) would have a high regard for one another. The strong and the weak alike need encouragement, which is a primary reason for the assembly (Heb 10:24,25). Fellowship goes beyond the assembly and produces hospitality (Heb 13:1,2; Acts 2:46; Rom 12:13). Lot provides a vivid contrast, for he “pitched his tent toward Sodom” (Gen 13:12). Not long afterward, Lot lived in Sodom (Gen 14:12). The consequences of his choice are well known.
The wisest course would be not to pitch your tent toward Sodom, or at least to leave as soon as possible with no regret, as did Lot’s wife (Gen 19:26). However, not everyone can leave Babylon when they wish. We can keep our windows open toward Jerusalem, as we wait and work for better days.
When circumstances threaten to overwhelm, when survival seems impossible, remember Daniel. Look toward Jerusalem. Keep your windows open.
– Steve Bobbitt
An Autobiography in Five Chapters
The following, by Portia Nelson, has been applied to all manner of human trials, but it well describes our struggle with temptation.
Chapter 1: I walk down the street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I’m lost . . . I’m hopeless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter 2: I walk down the street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in, again. I can’t believe I’m in this same place. But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter 3: I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it’s there. I fall in. It’s a habit, but my eyes are open. I know where I am. It’s my fault. I get out immediately.
Chapter 4: I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
Chapter 5: I walk down a different street!
The follow quotes were gleaned from many sources:
- We are all creatures of habit.
- Good habits are usually formed. Bad habits we fall into.
- A bad habit is first a CALLER, then a GUEST, and then a MASTER.
- It is easier to FORM good habits than REFORM bad ones.
- Habits are either the best of servants or the worst of masters.
- Chains of habit are usually too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.
- Sow an act; reap a habit. Sow a habit; reap a character. Sow a character; reap a way of life. Sow a way of life and reap an eternal destiny.
Three keys to breaking old habits and forming new ones:
1. Launch the new practice as strongly as possible.
2. Seize the first possible chance to act on your resolution.
3. Never let an exception occur until the habit is firmly rooted.
Still, as it was of old,
Men by themselves are priced;
For thirty pieces Judas sold
Himself, as well as Christ.
We always get ourselves into trouble when we
say “yes” too soon or “no” too late.
Men sometimes make counterfeit money;
Money often makes counterfeit men.