31 July 2008

Purposed heart/prepared heart – 10.9.07

Daniel is one of the few men in the Bible who has a spotless testimony. We never read of Daniel's failure, but rather of his faithfulness. To what can we attribute his success and steadfastness?

Daniel 1:8 says, But Daniel purposed in his heart that we would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

As a young man, Daniel was taken away from his parents to a strange land, taken away from the worship of God and the temple and the priests, taught to speak the language of the Chaldeans, instructed in their sciences, given a Babylonian name, and provided with defiling meat and drink from the king's table. With all that considered, it seems that there was no reason Daniel would refuse – except for the fact that he had purposed in his heart not to defile himself.

The lesson for us is that we'll never have victory in the Christian life until we sit down, search our hearts, and decide that above all else we want a victorious Christian life that glorifies God. And we need to make that decision sooner rather than later. If we wait until we're in the midst of a temptation to decide what choice we're going to make, it'll be too late, and victory will go to the tempter. So…

Like Daniel, we need to purpose in our hearts that we'll not be defiled (Daniel 1:8). Like Ezra, let us prepare our hearts to seek the law of God (Ezra 7:9-10). Like Jehoshaphat, we must prepare our hearts to seek the God of the Bible (2 Chronicles 19:3).

The question that comes to my mind, then, is "How do I prepare my heart?" The Bible answer is simply – humility. Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear. We need to humble ourselves and honestly answer these questions – Is God smarter or are we smarter? Does He have it all figured out or does He need our advice?

We covered this idea a couple weeks ago in class, and I am convinced that there are some of you who have counted the cost, have purpose in your heart, and will follow Jesus Christ all the days of your life. And I'm certain there are some of you who agree with what I'm saying but haven't seriously dedicated all that you are to the One Who has blessed you with everything you have. Today would be the day.

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