Recently, a friend of mine was instructed by her nutritionist to maintain a diet of vegetables and fruits only for two weeks. She was told to expect dramatic results in her health, as she reset her system. During the two weeks, she expressed the struggle to continue the diet: “I am hungry and miserable all the time!” she said in exasperation. She did not want to keep going, but she understood that there was a health benefit that was worth the self-control, if she persevered.
In Daniel 1, we find four young men, selected for special training in the palace of a Babylonian king. They were not opposed to what they had to learn, but they needed to take a stand about what they had to consume. Daniel made a decision and set the initial test of ten days without eating the meat and sweets from the king’s table. However, the entire training period was three years, and having reread this, I realize that they kept this diet and resolve for the duration of the training. The reason for their decision is not given, but the lesson cannot be missed.
We make resolutions at the beginning of the year or with the unfolding of a crisis or other life-altering events, and it is easy to make an utterance, but it takes discipline and self-control to maintain one’s resolve. Therefore, I have great appreciation of the discipline that these young men displayed and imagine what it must have taken for them to choose to eat vegetables and drink water while everyone around them, including other Israelites, consumed the fine fare that was provided.
Daniel’s real resolve was to maintain his standards. He did not carry out a revolt or demonstration, there was no picketing or hunger strikes. The time for a revolt would come later. For now, he spoke with wisdom and respect to the authorities, and acted in faith. He perhaps did not know exactly what would happen. But he knew they had to obey Yahweh. Their resolve paid great dividends, the Bible says that after ten days, they appeared healthier and more nourished than all the others.
The quality of what we consume affects our health and wellbeing. Spiritually speaking, what we consume affects our conscience and our attitude towards Yahweh and His Word. Whether we are aware of it or not, our consumption influences our character, morals and values.
A daily commitment to limit our consumption of anything that gently pulls us up, out of submission or tugs us away from His will and purpose, will bring us closer to the kind of resolve that stands the test of time and character. Do not be afraid to surrender your desires and decisions today. While it is good to start with a resolution, it will be a challenge to maintain your resolve. The only way is to renew this commitment with each new day, not just at the moment of conviction. You will find that if you change your diet, He will change your appetite.
Back in the book of Daniel we see that at the end of their test, Yahweh accelerated their ability to learn, which allowed them to be promoted and Daniel became known as a man of excellence, by Yahweh (Daniel 10:10) and by great men (Daniel 5:12, 6:3). In this first test, Daniel’s resolve became the foundation from which he was exalted, and it kept him from compromise through the change of kings and kingdoms (three different rulers, over 70 years). In every season, by faith, stand tall and be victorious. Maintain your resolve and preserve your identity.
Read: Daniel 1
Pray: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication
Write: Is there any change that you are ready to make today, to see the result of a surrendered heart? Ask your Father to help you maintain your resolve in this area.
Today’s devotional is from my new book, Devoted: Daily Devotionals for a Surrendered Life.
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