You stand out when you declare what you stand for… and you actually stand for it.
Lin-Manuel Miranda captured this truth brilliantly in his hit Broadway musical Hamilton, chronicling the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the American democracy. The tension between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, which lies at the center of the musical’s plot, revolves around this very issue. Hamilton clearly and relentlessly declared and fought for what he believed in. Burr on the other hand resisted taking definitive stands throughout his career. In the second song of the musical, Alexander levels this accusation at his antagonist, “If you stand for nothing, Burr, what will you stand for?” In the end, Hamilton had a profound influence on the world, while Burr remains a footnote in American history.
People who vacillate never engender respect or earn influence. Others will only follow us if they know what we stand for and that we will not waver. You stand out when you declare what you stand for and you actually stand for it.
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As we continue looking at the book of Daniel, we encounter two incredible examples of people who chose to stand for what they believed. First, standing for the truth that there is only one God worthy of worship, three young men, defy the command to worship an idol and as a consequence are thrown into a blazing fire as punishment. When the ruling King gave them the opportunity to avoid the fire, they declared “be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up” (Daniel 3:18). They chose imminent death over giving up what they stood for.
A few chapters later we find Daniel in a similar predicament. A different king had signed a decree ruling prayers could only be offered to him. The penalty for a violation of this decree would be death by ravenous lions. Daniel knew what he stood for, and was unwilling to waver. We read that “Daniel knew that the document had been signed… went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed” (Daniel 6:10).
In each of these situations God rescued these men from death, but they did not know that would happen at the time. They stand out to this day because they were willing to die for the principles for which they stood.
What do you stand for? The answer to this question will determine who much you stand out and who will follow?