Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine. Dan. 1:8

Dear heavenly Father, the older I get, the more I’m convicted and encouraged by the life of Daniel and his exiled friends. May the gospel bring me greater freedom to live and love as this man did—with passion and conviction, wisdom and hope.

I used to read the book of Daniel as a “Christian survival manual,” for believers waiting to be lifted on the face of the earth. But that’s not the way you wrote the book. I now realize that Daniel is a testimony to your commitment to redeem your every-nation people, and to make all things new through Jesus—even in Babylon.

It’s your intent, and delight, to bring the transforming power of the gospel to bear wherever you send your people—in every part of the world and in every sphere of life. I wish I’d understood this sooner. But now, with a better understanding of the gospel, here’s my prayer: Father, help us make the kinds of commitments Daniel made so we can live as an instruments of your transforming presence where you’ve placed us.

Keep us wise to the particular “defilements” that wage war against our hearts and your story—not just the things in “Babylon” (Rom. 12:1-2), but also the things in the dark continent of our hearts (Gal. 5:17). I increasingly look forward to the Day when I won’t even be tempted to sin. Hasten that Day, Lord.

I’m now realize the best way I can, like Daniel, “resolve not to defile myself,” is through a greater preoccupation with the beauty and bounty of Jesus. The more fully I give myself to growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, the less I get enamored with, or “sucker-punched” by, things that don’t really matter, or deeply satisfy—the “royal food and wine” of the wrong kingdom.

Lord Jesus, we praise you for being the true and loving King—the One who lived and died for our freedom. Nourish us the “royal food” of your kingdom.

As the Bread of Heaven, feed us till we want no more. As the giver of the water of life, quench our thirst that we might live and love as Daniel did—with passion and conviction, wisdom and hope—until the Day you return to finish making all things new. So very Amen we pray, in your loving and holy name.

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Scotty Smith


Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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