Key to the triumphant life – Part 1
As the New Year rolls in, we ought to take stock of how we have lived, and where we failed God. Above all, we should resolve to do things differently, if we expect God’s approval and favour. We have a worthy example in the life of Daniel, one of the most remarkable personalities in the Bible.
Daniel, who by all accounts was a success in Babylon, knew God’s secret for success. He lived a triumphant life in Babylon. He lived a clean life in an unclean society, a holy life in an unholy society, a pure life in an impure nation, a righteous life in an idolatrous environment, an undefiled life in the midst of moral defilement. He was like a white lily growing in a dirty surrounding without any stain on it.
The source of his triumphant life was divine and the strength of that life was prayer and faith. The root of his principled life was God’s grace and the sustaining power was his firm decision, importunate prayer life and unwavering faith in God. With his spirit focused on God’s glory and his heart given to God from which He could rule and reign without a rival, his firm purpose to remain faithful to God was absolute. Believers in the present world must take heed, watch and pray lest they partake in the sins, and corrupting lifestyle of the age. The culture of Babylon or the world must not be allowed to defile believers’ conscience.
Daniel had no choice whether to live in Babylon or not; he had been taken captive along with other Jews from Jerusalem in Judah. But he had a choice as to what kind of life he lived. He chose to live a life free from every form of defilement, which was not limited to eating and drinking either in the Old Testament or in the New Testament but he “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” Unclean meat, food or meat sacrificed to idols, idolatry, witchcraft and sorcery, immorality, transgression and sin, evil of every kind all defile the man (Leviticus 11:44,45; 18:24,30; 19:31; Ezekiel 20:7,18,19,43; 37:23; 1 Chronicles 5:1; Hebrews 13:4; Psalm 106:39-42; Matthew 15:18-20).
Daniel knew that defilement would bring God’s judgment and wrath on him. So, he purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself. Like Daniel, we too can have God’s grace and spiritual strength to be free from all defilement of idolatry, immorality and iniquity.
“But Daniel purposed in his heart.” He knew that out of the heart of man are the issues of life. Yet, his heart had been enlightened by the Word of God. A strong conviction had been established in his heart and to him; truth was not relative but absolute. He judged the proposal and provision of the king by the demand of God, the great King of heaven and earth. He meditated much on the Word of God and considered the danger and eternal consequence of defiling himself. Regardless of the consequences of rejecting Babylon’s lifestyle, Daniel purposed in his heart to fear God rather than men – even men of authority and might. His purpose was to please God and leave the consequences in His Hands. Fear of man destroys faith in God, faithfulness to God and the very foundation of a righteous life. Fear of man weakens the heart, enfeebles convictions and shakes the very foundation of a firm purpose.
“Daniel purposed in his heart,” not in his head. The heart, not the head, is the seat of our spiritual life, the spring of life’s principles, the source of strong affection and man’s actions, the fountain from which all spiritual and vital actions flow. As the heart is, so our life will be. Our lives can never rise above the state of our hearts.
A conviction that originates from a sanctified heart, a principle that is rooted in a purified heart, a purpose that is implanted in a renewed heart, will lead to a righteous and holy life. Convictions floating like unsettled notions in the mind, borrowed principles stored in the head, shared by friends but not fixed and rooted in the heart do not produce sanctified, triumphant lives. When the heart is quickened and sanctified by God’s grace, the life of faith and holiness will be a constant reality wherever we find ourselves – in Jerusalem or in Babylon. A firm, settled purpose of heart is indispensable for a consistently righteous life in Christ.
Further Reading (King James Version): Daniel 1:8; Daniel 1:8; Psalm 17:3; Deuteronomy 32:46,47; Joshua 22:5; Psalms119: 105,106; 119:1-3; 141:4; Proverbs 4:23-27; Luke 9:51; Colossians 3:1,2; 2 Timothy 3:10-14; Acts 11:23.
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