Daniel 1:8, NIV
“But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank.”
As a teenager, Daniel was carried off to Babylon by king Nebuchadnezzar. There he was selected to be trained for service in the king’s court, along with three of his friends and some other young men from Israel – chosen because of their intelligence, handsome appearance and aptitude for learning. They were each appointed a daily ration of choice food and wine from the king’s table, and were to be in training for three years, before entering the king’s service.
However, Daniel (and his three friends) showed courage, bravery and integrity when they refused the prime cuts of meat and wine from the king’s table so they wouldn’t defile themselves before God. Daniel requested a ten day trial where they would eat vegetables and drink water, and at the end of the ten days Daniel and his friends were found to be healthier than the rest of the men. God had rewarded their obedience with physical health and vitality!
Daniel was unwilling to compromise on his convictions, even in the midst of a hostile land. As Christians living in a fallen world, we’re also in the midst of a hostile land. Do we serve God without compromise, refusing to defile ourselves by submitting to the ways of the world? Or do we compromise our godliness and submit to the world instead of to God? Compromise happens when the lines between good and evil become blurred, and when we try to stretch the boundaries that God has set for us, losing sight of the righteous path that God’s marked out for us.
This is exactly what’s happening in society today. People are becoming increasingly hostile towards God, and towards those who stand for Him. Moral truth has become subjective and there are very few absolutes. The Word of God is seen by many to be irrelevant, and sin is protected by political correctness. Christians are under constant pressure to compromise their loyalty to God and indulge themselves in the things of the world. It takes courage, discipline and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to stand firm against all kinds of temptation and remain steadfast in our commitment to ‘be holy, as He is holy’ (1 Peter 1:15-16).
What would we have done in Daniel’s shoes? Would we have had the courage and discipline to say no to the things of the world that defile? Living without compromise means standing firm, even in the face of opposition and temptation. As Christ’s ambassadors here on earth, we’ve been given the opportunity to uphold the name of Jesus and His Word of truth. We’ve been filled with the Spirit of God, and in His power we are able to overcome all things – including the temptation to compromise – because ‘greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world’ (1 John 4:4).
Let’s make a new commitment today, to live a radical life in Christ! Let’s stand for truth without compromise, refusing to submit to the defilement of the world, that we might be salt and light in an increasingly dark world. Today, let’s dare to be a Daniel!
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us Your Word and Your Holy Spirit, to lead and to guide us as we try our best to life holy lives, in the midst of an unholy world. Please forgive us where we’ve compromised in the past and been defiled by sin. Today we commit ourselves to You again, to live a life that will honour You – without compromise! Please empower us to do this, by Your Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name, Amen.