Imagine four God-loving teenagers suddenly being abducted, dragged to a foreign country, and immersed headfirst into the dark arts. Despite the captors’ attempts to brainwash the young people, they not only retain their faith but grow in it—and even lead their captors to believe in God.
Sound like a plot to an unrealistic Christian movie? Actually, it’s a basic outline of the first six chapters of the Old Testament book of Daniel.
Daniel and his friends were likely between 13 and 15 years old when they were taken captive in Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar’s best sorcerers and enchanters tried to work their magic, but Daniel and his three uncompromising compadres didn’t forsake their Jewish roots. Eventually, they led two emperors (Nebuchadnezzar and Darius) to put their faith in Yahweh, the one true God.
The spiritual impact of Daniel & Co. on their world reminds me of a modern-day brand-new believer named Theresa. Her not-too-distant past was far from pure, and she still dressed like a Goth. But Theresa’s heart had been transformed. She knew that looking like a Christian (whatever that means) didn’t matter; living like one did.
A few weeks after Theresa had been trained at a Dare 2 Share conference to share the good news of Jesus, she heard a girl crying in a crowded school library. No one was coming to the aid of this fellow student, who was obviously hurting. Theresa, too, was tempted to keep walking and not get involved. But the Holy Spirit convicted her to live “in reverse”—to live in the opposite spirit of the indifferent, uncaring teenagers around her.
Theresa sat next to this girl and gently asked what was wrong. Through tears, the girl choked out that she’d stabbed herself in the stomach when she discovered she was pregnant, trying to kill herself. Instead, she lost the baby. The guilt was overwhelming, and everything caught up to her at school that day.
Against the pressure to “Shhh” in the library, Theresa chose to live in reverse—to maintain a God-focus in our me-focused world . Because she shared the gospel and God’s love, that broken girl put her faith in Jesus, receiving forgiveness in full.
Equip your teenagers to do the same. Inspire kids to live in reverse like Daniel and Theresa, seeing other people differently and spreading the good news of Jesus to those who desperately need it.
Greg is president of Dare 2 Share Ministries (Dare2Share.org) and author of Reach Out, Don’t Freak Out.