Develop Strong Convictions
Daniel 1:3–13, 17–19
One of the most wonderful times of the year is here — football season! Allegiances in the South run deep for the many high schools, colleges and universities that dot our landscape. I have conducted weddings and funerals around football game times. To confuse an Alabama fan for an Auburn supporter is comparable to a slap in the face for some. For whatever reason, convictions run deep for a few hours each Saturday these next few months.
A man in Scripture named Daniel lived more than 2,500 years ago and can be defined by his convictions. Over the next six Bible study sessions, we will examine his life and how we can remain true in our world that seems to be far from God’s design. We are bombarded by a culture hostile toward both God and righteousness.
When Christians choose to live a life with biblical convictions, they will stand out. As believers, we must not allow our circumstances to define who we are. We must be a people possessing a deep, resonating faith that will lead to outward and visible convictions.
The world expects us to conform to its expectations (3–7)
When reading about Daniel, remember that he is part of the children of Israel and a conquered people. They had been given into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. The king was not a follower of the Almighty God and therefore did not seek His wisdom or guidance. An unholy establishment has no desire for the righteousness or holiness of God in its presence. King Nebuchadnezzar went as far as changing the names of the young men in the text to not reflect the Lord in any way.
Draw the line where you will not compromise. (8–13)
While Nebuchadnezzar could change some of the young men’s names and what they were called, he could not change their convictions. The king had allotted the men a ration of choice food and wine, but Daniel refused to defile himself. God granted Daniel favor with some of the officials that allowed a trial period of a diet consisting only of vegetables and water.
This is important because it reveals God at work in the lives of His people even when unbelievers do not see it or understand.
Serve and stand for the Lord no matter what the culture does. (17–19)
The biblical convictions you refuse to waver in now may be the testimony God uses to compel others to follow Him. We do not hold to our convictions so we may demonstrate our righteousness; we do so to direct others to the perfect righteousness of God. Because Daniel and his friends were obedient, the Lord blessed him with wisdom and knowledge that surpassed all others. These gifts, along with the ability to understand visions and dreams, would serve Daniel well and are essential to his story.
In our culture today, the enemy and the world are busy placing difficulties in our path. However, they fail to realize that what they hope will serve as an obstacle for the Christian can be a great opportunity for us to make Jesus known.
By Bobby McKay
Pastor of New Liberty Baptist Church in Morton, Mississippi