“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself…” Daniel 1:8a
The key word in this verse from Daniel is “purposed.” Daniel had a choice to make. Would he go along with the plan set before him that he knew would defile him before the Lord? Or, would he decide to take a stand for what he knew in his heart was the right way, the Law prescribed way, for him to live? Daniel chose to make a purposeful stand in following the Lord and then he acted on it by making a bold request of the king’s servant.
Daniel did not know how the events to follow would play out when he made his choice. He has just witnessed the siege of Jerusalem and as a result he was taken away from his family to live in a foreign land where his future was anything but certain. For all Daniel knew, his decision to follow the Law above the requests of the king of Babylon could have ended his life right then and there. But Daniel did not waiver. He set his heart on the Lord and then left the rest of the story to be written by God, in whom he put his unwavering trust.
Living in a world that provides many wayward options, it is difficult to stay on the straight and narrow. Living a life continually in check with the Law of God is neither the popular option nor the easy option. There are very few young people who have a strong enough faith to be willing to stand out and live a life that speaks to the truth of the gospel and the saving power of Jesus Christ, let alone very many adults who are willing to do the same. But it all comes down to having enough trust in the Lord to make all the details work out for the best (God’s best, not our perceived notion of what may be best).
But, living our lives in check with God's will does not end at just figuring out right from wrong, we also must make sure that we are so closely listening to God that we do not chose the "good" over the "better". We must live in constant check that we are following God's will for our lives and not just doing things that we have purposed as "good" in our hearts. Many times the things we feel will bring us closer to God actually pull us further away from Him because those activities which originated in our own hearts and were never confirmed by God to be in line with His will.
Just yesterday I had to make a painful choice and decline an offer to join a group of ladies doing a book study. Oh my heart would have loved to join those ladies, but I have known for a while where God desires for me to purpose my heart in this coming year and this book study in the end would have distracted me from the path that God has shown me. I felt a great amount of peace as I sent out my email saying that I would not be joining them. It was another "good" choice I had to say "no" to so that the "better" choice would be my purposed choice.
As you look at the decisions before you today and in the days to come, beware of the things that can lead you astray and then purpose in your heart to follow God and His perfect will - He will never disappoint you and the peace of God that surpasses understanding will be with you as you move forward into the unknown.