There is a scripture in the book of Daniel that I constantly mull over time and time again. To me this scripture defines the entire book but it should also define our lives as Christians. The scripture is Daniel 1:8 which talks about Daniel making the decision not to defile himself with the king’s food and wine. I actually wrote another post about this in 2016 but I can’t seem to let it go.
So much of who we are in God starts with a decision. Are we going to allow God to be our Lord and savior? That’s the first big decision we have to make. Giving God our heart meas we understand that we are sinners desperately in need of a savior. Someone who can not only take away our sin but also provide the guidance needed to walk a life filled with purpose. Which brings me to the next question. Are we going to allow God to reshape us? Allowing God to save us isn’t the only life transforming thing that God wants to do for us. He wants to continually remove what is in us that are not reflective of Him. He wants to give us His peace, joy, grace & mercy. And not just for us to live a better life but also for us to extend that same joy, peace, grace & mercy to others as well. Our lives should be lived past the four walls of where we live, work or attend church. Our lives, just as God’s love, should have no borders.
So let’s get back to Daniel. I’m pretty sure his resolve started long before being a captive in Babylon. He was already a man of great character. Hardworking and teachable. He had to exhibit these traits prior to exile otherwise he wouldn’t have been chosen as one of the children to stand in the king’s palace. And it wasn’t just Daniel who made the decision to be a man of character. He had friends who made that decision early in life as well. I just finished a bible plan focusing on associations-the people we hang with. It got me thinking about where I spend my time and who I spend it with which leads me to another decision we have to make. Are we going to allow God to lead us to the people we should have in our lives? Are we going to pay attention to the unsettling feeling we get about someone or some place? Or sometimes the feeling isn’t unsettling but there is an instant connection and sense of ease that tells us “this is right”. The point is regardless of the feeling, unsettling or instant connection, we should pray to God for direction.
Once again back to Daniel and his friends. Before captivity they constantly talked to God and during captivity they continued their conversations. Because of their conversations with God Daniel understood that the decree not to pray to anyone but the king was a trap. Daniel continued to pray just as he had always done. Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego knew it was wrong to worship other Gods and never bowed to the image of Nebucadnezzar. Their resolve almost cost them their lives but they held fast to their decision to worship the one true God and allow Him to lead & guide them.
Because of that Nebuchadnezzar came to believe in God and made a decree that others in the kingdom believe as well. Three teenage boys made resolution to follow God which lead a king and a nation to believe.
What will your resolve lead others to believe about you and most importantly about God?