Daniel realized that God was a portable God – He came to Babylon with the Israelites.
Daniel was re-trained, re-educated and re-named – everything about them changed – externally – but the one thing the Babylonians could not do was change them internally.
And what you are like Internally depends upon what you have feed yourself with in the past – it rings to the surface what you truly believe to be true.
Daniel had been a good jew – he had been diligent in studying the torah – he knew the words of God – he knew the words of God SO well that they were a part of his DNA.
And so when EVERYTHING else about his faith was taken away he still was able to fall back on what knew to be true – and that the Babylonians could not change.
This meant that Daniel could LEARN all the Babylonian philosophy, all the Babylonian religion, all the Babylonian law – he learns them with excellence, but they mean nothing to him. He was not assimilated by it nor changed by it – it was knowledge, not life.
So, I ask again, what would happen if all the externals stuff of our Christianity was taken away from us – could we survive as a Christian. Or would the culture engulf you, assimilate you.
To some extent you and I are like Daniel. We live in an alien culture – its alien compared to the words and commands of God. It is alien because it does not recognize the supremacy of Jesus. And not to recognize the supremacy of Christ is not to be fully human. Life cannot be lived to its fullest without Christ at the center.
And we have a choice in how we live as believers in this culture – we can either be assimilated by it or we can understand it but do not let it become apart of who we are.
In the one area that Daniel was able to show loyalty to God he does – food – he does not defile himself but eats vegetables.
In this culture, in the culture of iphones and Macs and Wii’s and playstation 3, of what clothes you must wear to be cool, or what shoes to have, or msic to play, were are you taking the stand against culture – where are you showing yourself to be loyal to Yahweh?
Or are we so assimilated into the culture that we have become unrecognizable? Because if that is true then we have lost
If you claim to be a believer in Jesus Christ then you must be 100% committed.
Now when I say 100% committed I do not mean that you are perfect. When people say are you 100% committed to God it sounds an impossible task for there are days when I do not feel 100% committed.
But I heard a story which helped me get a better understanding. There was a teenager who at school was a good student: A’s and B’s. Then all of a sudden they started to slip and they started to get 70% in tests and the teach took the student aside and said “hey, whats the problem, you’re a great student, you can do better than this – give me a 100%.”
Well, the student did not get better, and sadly the teacher watched a great student get mediocre to bad grades.
About 10 years later that Student, who was now a writer for Time Magazine, saw his teacher at a reunion and went over and said to her, “Thank you for all your encouragement. But you know, when I was in your class, my home life was a bad place. My dad had left home and my mom was an alcoholic and I had to look after my little brother at night time and couldn’t study. I tried my hardest. the 70% was, at that time, my 100%.”
Is our 70%, or 80% or even 65% the 100% of what you have NOW!
Daniel had no middle ground to walk it was either total assimilation or total commitment to God. I am sure he had doubts, and was angry and sometimes confused and may have wanted to give up. But he gave God what he had.
Give God what you have!
We must stop having one foot in the Kingdom of God and one foot in the world. We need to stop putting our relationship with God third on our list of things to do – we need to stop spending our money on what we want and instead on what God wants – we need to stop thinking we can get way with the private things we do that we know God is not pleased about and start to REALLY live a life open and honest before god and before our culture – and that means at school as well!