The secret of a triumphant life – Part 2
In preserving himself holy and acceptable to God, while training in Babylonian school and living in the world’s pagan city, Daniel’s purpose of heart was to keep himself pure, free from all defilement. Daniel’s definition and understanding of “things that defile” was based on the scriptures he had been taught from childhood. For the Israelites, unclean animals and birds, meat sacrificed to idols and wine, part of which had been poured as libation to an idol, were all defiled and defiling. These provisions from the king’s table were thus defiled and Daniel’s conscience would not accept such free provisions. So, he “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank.”
“That which defileth man” goes beyond idolatrous food and drink. Daniel knew this and we ought to know it as well, so that we can be cleansed and remain free “from all filthiness (defilement) of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). “To keep himself unspotted from the world” and “undefiled in the way” (James 1:27; Psalm 119:1), the believer must be free from the “abominable customs” of the world (Leviticus 8:30; 1 Peter 4:3,4), from any involvement with “familiar spirits, wizards” (Leviticus 19:31), from “all evil” and “transgressions” (Ezekiel 20:43; 37:23); we must be watchful over ourselves so that we are not “defiled with our own works” or “our own inventions” (Psalm 106:39,40). Christ’s teaching ought to be taken to heart, as we purpose in our hearts not to be defiled.
“And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:20-23). The Son of God can make us free and keep us free from all defilement – from all sin. His power can make you what you ought to be. His Blood can cleanse your heart and make you free. His love can fill your soul and make you live a victorious and triumphant life.
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself … therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” Daniel’s aim in all things, in all places, in all situations and at all times, was to have “a conscience void of offence toward God.” His was a noble pattern of life, based on a noble principle of conviction. Whatever the cost or consequence, God’s glory was the focus of his life. His great and noble desire was to be pure, to be free from every form of defilement, to please the Lord, and no pain, peril or possible persecution could bend his will to Babylon’s culture or religious practice. His constant aim was to do whatever God demands and to avoid whatever God forbids.
He had been well-taught in the Scripture of truth. His spirit was responsive to God’s still, small voice. His heart was pure and holy. His motive was God-honouring and self-effacing. His conscience was enlightened and sensitive. Not even an appearance of evil would he excuse or allow in his life. His private life was to be as pure as his public life. Even in Babylon, Daniel refused to allow anything into his mind, his spirit, his heart, his body, his life, anything which would offend God, anything contrary to God’s truth, purity or His pure worship and excellence. Oh, that we might live such a Christ-honouring life today.
Dare to be a Daniel; dare to stand alone. Dare to have a firm purpose. Dare to make it known. Many mighty men are lost, daring not to stand. Dare to be a Daniel. Have a firm purpose to stand for truth and righteousness. Be faithful in small things, as well as in great things. Purpose in your heart to be undefiled and pray for grace to live as God commands.
Further Reading (King James Version): Daniel 1:8; Acts 15:22-29; Mark 7:20-23; Hebrews 12:15-17; James 3:6; Matthew 15:10,11,18-20; Psalm 119:1-3; James 1:26,27; Hebrews 13:4; Revelation 21:27; Acts 24:16; Hebrews 13:18; 1 Peter 3:15,16; 1 Timothy 1:5,19; Psalm 24:3,4; Matthew 5:8; Acts 15:9; 2 Timothy 2:21,22; Ephesians 5:25-27.
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