I kind of stopped wanting to call determined decisions at the beginning of the year "New Year's resolutions," because that seemed to make them doomed to failure. (Trust me, I realize that the failure has nothing to do with what they are called, but it rests squarely on my shoulders.) What if we made a "New Life Resolution" today? What if we firmly decide each morning to keep certain boundaries in place?
One of my favorite people in the Bible has to be Daniel. I urge you to just sit and read his story through and dare to put yourself in his shoes. He was taken captive as a young man and carried to the kingdom of Babylon. Then he was trained for three years to serve the king, and he ended up serving more than one in his lifetime.
What stands out to me is that this young man decided that he could resolutely serve his God in exile:
"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."
God gave him favor, wisdom, knowledge and the ability to interpret dreams in this foreign land. He was surrounded by wickedness and pagan worship, yet the Lord equipped him to excel.
Why can't we resolve not to defile ourselves in the midst of the wickedness around us? Our citizenship is in heaven, so we are basically dwelling in a foreign land at this point. I believe with all of my heart that the Lord can equip us to serve those in our lives with whom we may not agree, all the while keeping our integrity and walking in excellence.
Because Daniel stood out he was promoted, and the Name of his God was exalted. Will you resolve today to serve your God faithfully in the midst of a wicked world? May we determine to walk in excellence and integrity, lifting our eyes toward home...exalting the One cheering us on from there.
Father, I want to lift up Your Name through integrity and the resolution to keep myself committed to pleasing You in everything I do. I trust You to equip me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
The Book of Daniel, Psalm 25:21, Philippians 3:20