Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.” Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others. Daniel 1:9-16
Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. Colossians 4:5-6
So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil .... Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:25-27, 29-32
The way Daniel approached life is captured by the words of Proverbs 3:5-6 where it says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." He had already given up on his own lists of what he wanted and didn't want in his life. He was used to God creating the lists of what would be in his life and what would not be. And he was in tune with God's voice and the updates to the lists he spoke into his life on a daily basis. So, when the occasion arose that he was being asked to do something he knew would interfere with and not contribute to the intentions God had for him, he was prepared to do something about it. He didn't make a big stink in regard to what was being asked of him. He wasn't offended or outraged. There was no righteous indignation. Instead, he enlisted the help of the one who had authority over him to help him with his dilemma. Daniel offered an alternate plan and when this posed a dilemma for the chief of staff, Daniel offered a solution to the attendant and assured him that he would leave the final say in his hands. God gave Daniel wise words to use while engaged in good and healthy conversation with the one who had authority over him. There are good and healthy ways for us to interact with others that will frequently result in our being able go forward without compromising our convictions and yet without a lot of unnecessary fussing and fuming.
Lord fill my heart with peace and help me be at peace with others. Help me to recognize that it is a rare thing for my convictions to be truly threatened by anything other than my own unfaithfulness to them. Help me not to be offended or outraged by the world when I come face to face with its influence. Rather, Lord teach me how to engage with people who don't embrace you and your ways so that they experience my love and acceptance of them. Help me to see that it is in this kind of context that good and healthy conversations can happen that contribute to your provision of strait paths for my going forward faithfully in the journey of living fully for you.
Posted on Wed, February 18, 2015