Survival Principles #1

Defining Your Non-negotiables


Lion’s Den Survival Principles is a series designed to help Christians thrive in the often hostile world of media and entertainment. The principles from Scripture, however, can apply to every situation – be it in the media, in business, or in your professional life. May these posts encourage you to live a life that reflects your faith well in every circumstance where you find yourself in the midst of lions!

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Defining Your Non-negotiables and Counting the Cost

I remember seeing my friend, the young seminarian, ashen-faced and visibly shaking as he faced the faculty and student body. Each member of our seminary class was required to prepare and deliver a sermon in chapel to the entire school and then to sit through the faculty’s public evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of that effort on the following Friday. Both were terror-filled occasions for the seminarians.

The handsome, baby-faced student shuffled his notes nervously, looked out at the great stone faces of the faculty and blurted out, “I feel like a lion in a den of Daniels.”

I’ve thought often of the insight in that superficially convoluted statement. Is it possible that the often-hostile environment of a media profession can be turned, so that the power resides on the side of the prophets more than on the side of the lions? I think so.

I’ve wept with a media executive in a major studio who was terminated by her homosexual boss for appearing on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club. I’ve commiserated with a producer who was relieved of his position for including spiritual content in the series he produced. I’ve sat through tirades at media trade conventions against “born-againers” and “the religious right” and “Evangelicals” and “fundamentalists” and realized that, at some level, the anger was aimed at me. More often, I’ve felt the pressure of media pros to keep quiet about deep, personal faith because fear of reprisals from peers and bosses was very real and very great.

What are principles for survival in a hostile environment?

Survival Principle: You must have a clear definition of your moral nonnegotiables. 

Every person should have a written or mental list of those situations or expectations in which he is willing to risk the job for what’s right. When Daniel’s king decreed death to all those who prayed to any other God but Him, he crossed Daniel’s predetermined “nonnegotiable” line. Daniel had determined that he was willing to risk his job or even his life rather than not pray to Jehovah. The failure to determine what one’s personal nonnegotiables are before pressure situations arise invites being pushed into personal, spiritual betrayal when the time of pressure comes.

Survival Principle: You must weigh the immediate cost of defending your righteous standards against the long-term cost of violating them. 

The short term, immediate costs of taking a stand are very “now,” very real, and very visible. The long-term costs—though often far greater—are very future, very abstract, and nearly invisible.

I watched a Christian director turn down what would have been steady, directorial work on a long-running show because some of the scripts made sport of Jesus Christ. A TV producer was asked to put sex and violence into a series, and he replied, “I’m sure you won’t have difficulty finding producers to do that for you, but we don’t do sex and violence.” Another series producer made it clear that, as a Christian, she wouldn’t do material that communicated untrue concepts of God and the supernatural world.

The director was given better work to replace what he lost. The first producer is in high demand because word of his integrity has gotten around. The second producer got the network nod to do the show anyway. In all three cases, in different ways, God took care of them.

Even more important, all three are free from the burden of having sold a piece of their souls for a mere job. They don’t have to carry the guilt or discipline of having denied their Master in the interests of Mammon.

Too often, I’ve heard Christians say, “It’s not the kind of work I want to do but . . .” (a) “I need the work,” (b) “It’ll look good on my resume,” or (c) “I hope it will get me to a position where I can do good stuff.” Dangerous statements.

You’ve heard the expression, “His strength is as the strength of ten because his heart is pure.” The pure-hearted, graciously unmovable, Christian in media takes on a special kind of power that shuts the mouths of the lions and lionesses in the den. It is God’s power, and God’s power means omnipotence. Only He is King over the beasts.


Like to have the entire cLions Den Coverollection of Dr. Poland’s words of wisdom from the book of Daniel?  Then purchase “Lion’s Den Survival Principles” (the book) with 25 chapters and 58 survival principles.  Order for $11.00 including shipping and handling from 330 Sixth Street, Redlands, CA 92374, or call 800-552-1248 to order.





This post has 3 Comments

  1. Vera Wiebe on Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Thank you Larry for your insight and all the work that you are doing to honor our Lord and Savior – Blessings – Vera

  2. Debbie on Saturday, January 10, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Thank you! I needed to read these principles today! (I’m actually working backward through them). I am going to type them and post them on my office wall as great reminders to live my entire life with integrity and courage.
    God bless you for sharing your insight!
    Debbie G. Brownfield

  3. Ann Shanahan on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Amen! I pray for and fully support those Christians in Hollywood who take a stand for what is glorifying to God. Christian viewers need to turn off the shows that mock God and glorify evil. We need to stop buying tickets to movies that do the same. We need more “Daniels” who are willing to go against what is accepted so casually by the world and honor God with our personal choices for “entertainment”. Thank you Dr. Poland for your ministry.

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