Sunday, June 05, 2011

June 5, 2011 … Integrity Stands On Principle

Passage of the Day: Daniel 1: 5, 8 … 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king's table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king's service. … 8 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.

My Journal for Today: In today’s passage we begin to see the remarkably mature character and discernment of a young believer who exercised his faith in the light of powerful political pressures. And we also note that this young Hebrew lad didn’t go off half-cocked with anger to demonstrate his faith with some political protest that could have either landed him in the king’s prison or had him beheaded. No, Daniel (or rather, Belteshazzar as he was renamed by the Babylonians) demonstrated a remarkable degree of cultural respect and decorum by bringing his concerns to the chief Babylonian officials when his spiritual disciplines were being challenged by the power structure of Nebuchadnezzar’s court.

As we see in Daniel, chapter one, “Belteshazzar” saw an advantage in receiving the secular education being forced upon him and the other Hebrew youths because there was nothing from His Godly values against such teachings or actions. However, when it came to the Babylonian dietary practices, Daniel had to draw a line because his God’s Law specifically prohibited the dietary practices of the Babylonian culture..

But Daniel did not choose to use political demonstrations or underground subversion to show his aversion to the Babylonian dietary “laws.” On the contrary, he showed great restraint, and I believe became an example of Christlike humility and meekness (see Matt. 11: 29), by respectfully petitioning the royal authorities to be able to avoid defiling himself and his friends (see Dan. 1: 11 – 15).

Standing on Godly principles, the stance of Christian integrity, is tough in today’s world. However, as long as we stand in the gap for Christ and Christian values, we should remember the first line actions of Daniel as we do our best to witness Christian humility and meekness (i.e., Christlikeness), following God’s mandates to honor God ordained governments as much as we can [see Romans 13: 1 – 7 - linked here for your study]. We will later see that Christian integrity can possibly take us to civil disobedience and a more direct stand against ungodly governments or worldly authorities whom God has installed. However, our first response should be “Danielian” in respectful discernment and challenge. Stay with me this month. I’ve read on ahead a bit; and there will be more to this story, especially when governments or political powers try to force us to do ungodly acts which cannot be compromised or ignored. But for now, confronting marginal pressures in the world which are ungodly, we should do all we can, as Daniel did, to take a Godly stance which imitates the very loving, humble, and gentle stance our Lord would model for us when we’re confronted by carnality and worldliness.

My Prayer Today: Help me, Lord, to stand for You with humility, meekness and integrity Amen

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