"But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way." Daniel 1:8
As a kid, one of my favorite Bible stories was the story of Daniel in the lion's den. I was fascinated at how God shut the mouths of the lions and saved Daniel from death. I now look at the entire story of Daniel, and I am amazed at what God did to and through Daniel. He was taken from his home in Jerusalem and forced to live in a foreign country. The kings that sat on the throne throughout Daniel's lifetime tried to change Daniel. They wanted him to learn their language and their literature. They wanted him to eat their food and drink their wine. They wanted him to wear their clothes. They wanted to change his name to honor their gods. They wanted Daniel to pray to and to serve their gods. However, Daniel never wavered. He kept his faith in God throughout all those circumstances in his life. How did he do it? Daniel resolved. In context, the word "resolved" is past tense. In other words, Daniel had already decided in his heart and his mind that he would serve God and God alone. Daniel made a solid decision before any temptation or change in circumstance occurred. Even though the circumstances of life may have caught Daniel by surprise, the circumstances of life did not catch him off guard! Daniel resolved not to defile himself...no matter the cost. Daniel continued to pray to God. Daniel continued to serve God. Because of his resolve, instead of the kings of Babylon bringing change to Daniel, Daniel brought change to the kings of Babylon. God was praised by foreign kings and foreign people because Daniel resolved not to defile himself.
What about today? I wonder if we as Christ followers truly understand that this world is not our home? I wonder if we as Christ followers truly understand that though we live in this world, we are not of this world? I wonder if we as Christ followers have embraced that we are to bring change to the world rather than the world bringing change to us? Jesus prayed for His follower in John 17. In John 17:13-19, Jesus prayed, "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified." Daniel resolved not to defile himself. In essence, Daniel denied himself and glorified God. As Christ followers, we must resolve not to defile ourselves. We must deny self and glorify God. When we become Christ followers with resolve, change will come to the places we live, the places we work, and the places we walk. God will be praised!!! Believe it! Claim it! Live it!