Feb 05, 2015
It’s a month into the new year. How are your new year’s resolutions going?
So often “diet” tops the list of new year’s resolutions. I found that my new-year’s study in the book of Daniel confronted the issue head on.
Daniel was among those taken captive and relocated to the Babylonian capital. His world would be turned upside down and inside out, but Daniel knew that his God was sovereign and that his God was able.
King Nebuchadnezzer and his chief court official, Ashpenaz, quickly assembled young men from the Hebrew royal family and its nobility. These men were without physical defect, handsome, and showed aptitude for every kind of learning. They were well informed, quick to understand, and clearly qualified to serve the king.
They would embark on a rigorous three-year training regimen to prepare them for entrance into the king’s service.
The first challenge Daniel faced was his diet. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from his own table. “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. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, ‘I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. The king would then have my head because of you’ ” (Daniel 1:8-10, NIV)
Daniel’s God was able to change the mind of the chief official—and He would prove able in overseeing Daniel’s health.
So Daniel, trusting his health to his sovereign Lord, said: “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see” (Daniel 1:12-13).
Daniel’s faithful witness to the official might be construed as putting his God to a test, but his decision not to defile himself demonstrated his total surrender to his God.
“At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead” (Daniel 1:15-16).
Daniel stood firm in his faith and resolved to not defile himself—and it proved far better than the choices the king and his officials were to make for him.
What’s the difference between our resolutions and the resolve shown by Daniel?
Daniel’s story illustrates the importance of surrendering ourselves to God. We so often resolve through our own strength. Let’s take a page from Daniel’s playbook at the outset of this year and resolve to accomplish what God puts on our heart by His authority and His lordship as Daniel had done.
Speaking of resolutions, what has God put on your heart for this new year?
For more information about how you can stay the course, refer to The Wheel illustration at The Navigators’ website. The Hub: Christ the Center. See 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20. Total surrender to Christ's authority and lordship is not always a decision made right at conversion, but is a necessary act of will. For the believer, the “old life” has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17), and Christ dwells through us instead (Galatians 2:20). God creates within us the desire to do what He wants us to do in order to express His lordship in our lives.