8) But Daniel purposed in his heart that he 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.Daniel 1:8 (KJV)
What does it mean that Daniel purposed in his heart? How does it apply to us?
The portion of the king’s meat and wine mentioned in this verse refers to food offered to idols and that was unclean by Jewish standards.
Consuming such would be a direct violation of the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 11, KJV) and thus of God’s commands. Therefore Daniel’s stance is one he makes to abstain from sinning.
Daniel was a man of conviction— he stood strong, feet planted firmly within God’s will for his life and within His commands and statutes. Through his conviction, Daniel strove do what was good and right per God’s standards, which always represent true goodness.
18) And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers.Deuteronomy 6:18 (KJV)
As Christians we must often, and may I say always, purpose in our hearts to stand for God, to not sin and to do what is right.
Attaining this attitude of the heart is a difficult and continuous process resulting from a life committed to God, His precepts, commands and Word.
In fact you cannot purpose in your heart any of these responses to life’s challenges without great preparation. Daniel followed God, and following requires a process.
You see Daniel did not come to purpose in his heart to not eat of the meat or drink of the king’s wine instantly. It took time.“As Christians we must often, and may I say always, purpose in our hearts to stand for God, to not sin and to do what is right.”
For the Christian, following God and becoming more like Him takes time and purposing in our hearts to follow and serve Him through proper decision-making takes time.
We must spend many hours in communion with God— praying to Him, following His commands and serving Him. This all prepares us for the time when our purposed heart has to make a decision for Him.
In Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Royal Publishers Edition, 1975) the Hebrew word for purposed (“siym” 7760) can also mean commit (“for Daniel committed in his heart”).
Preparation takes time. Commitment takes time. One does not enter into the commitment of marriage (at least successfully) instantly, it takes time.
The student does not become committed to his calling or vocation overnight; he must toil and learn and struggle first before he becomes committed to earning his degree.
The mother commits in her heart to raise her children in love no matter the cost. Through much loyalty the businessman commits to serve his company. Soldiers train for years to be committed to the cause.
To commit in your heart to do right is to have a heart committed to serving God for the duration of your entire life and it means committing every day to Him.
It takes learning and failure as well. We might fall seven times….
16) For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.Proverbs 24:16 (KJV)
…but we must always get back up and purpose our hearts once more. We must once more commit our hearts to Him, this time stronger and with greater conviction.
To commit in your heart to love God, to serve God, to not sin and to do what is right, takes time and preparation. It will take much falling and rising back up.
The Hebrew word (“siym” 7760) can also mean rehearsed. Daniel likely envisioned in his mind how he would react in such a circumstance before this instance happened.
The actor rehearses his lines, the athlete her drills and the painter his techniques. This is why going to church, memorizing scripture, reading the Bible and witnessing to others is of such importance. You must practice what you preach. You must rehearse making decisions for Him.
Besides practice, experience can often be the best teacher. For the Christian every minute of every day is a rehearsal for following God.“For the Christian every minute of every day is a rehearsal for following God.”
We battle our old sin natures constantly, we face a myriad of difficult situations all the time and we consistently come face to face with evil.
It is a fallen world and we are citizens of heaven, nothing more than traveling pilgrims in a world that is against us and darkened to God. Our experiences with sin and the world are where our hearts’ true orientation (either toward us or to God) shines or hides.
The response to these experiences and situations says everything, for how you respond shows how rehearsed and practiced you are.
How many times are we confronted with a moral or ethical dilemma and we fold? We chose not God’s way but ours? What will we do next time?
There is a reason we use the term “confronted” when it comes to situations. We’re in a spiritual war and many situations scare us, try us and test us.
We do not just encounter life’s difficult experiences and situations, rather we confront them and if we confront them the right way, with hearts purposed and committed to God, we can yet make it and choose to do what is right.
Whether you chose right or wrong in a given situation that you confronted or that confronted you, you now know, based on your response, how rehearsed and prepared and purposed you really were.“Our experiences with sin and the world are where our hearts’ true orientation (either toward us or to God) shines or hides.”
This knowledge you are now equipped with is there to aide you in making the right decision next time.
Or maybe you did make the right decision? Does it seem easy to you now to stand for what is right in God’s eyes?
Be careful if you have this lax attitude toward the things of God, for this provides a foothold for the enemy to creep in and for pride to lull us into a false sense of strength.
For instance next time you may not see the same situation as that big of a deal or you might not hold to as strong a conviction. It may seem that since you were a “hero” before it will be easy to be the “hero” a second time.
Or perhaps a “been there done that” attitude will take hold and again you will not take the situation seriously enough.
Do not let this be your attitude for the purposed heart only gains its strength and sustains its strength from God working in you and by your following Him.
Remember it takes time, preparation, commitment and rehearsal to make right decisions for Him. It also takes His strength.
In fact this is the critical element for developing the ability to purpose in your heart to serve Him and not sin. It is the principal way by which we handle the difficult experiences of life and is the linchpin that holds it all together.
It supplies the preparation and commitment with patience and strength through every rehearsal and when the times arrive it lets us follow through by doing right.
You see God gives the purposeful stance of the heart and conviction therein the strength to develop within us.
God is a God of confidence; He is our confidence and we must remember that His ways are ways we can be confident to follow. This gives us and our purposed heart strength.
26) For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.Proverbs 3:26 (KJV)
When we purpose in our heart, it is the result of countless hours of spiritual development and sanctification of character.
However it is all the result of God providing clarity in our lives about how things in life really are including how we should respond to challenges and sin in life.
This comes from us no longer being slaves to sin and rather being new men able to see the world through God’s eyes once we’ve come to Him in belief and repentance of sins.
17) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
22) That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23) And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24) And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.Ephesians 4:22-24 (KJV)
Ultimately it is God who gives our hearts the strength to be committed and purposed for Him.
Finally, Strong says purposed can also mean to determine and/or consider. Christian you must think on the things of God, His desires for your life and about being like Him. You must consider.
Do not approach following Him lightly, arrogantly or without gravity. Determine in your heart to follow Him, seek out Him and what He desires for you. He has already laid things out for you to accomplish, now go and find them, not blindly but expectantly and through great consideration.
10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10
Christian consider in your heart to serve Him, to stay away from sin and to choose right.
When you consider, you look at both sides, you learn in so doing that sin does not even compare to living spirituality. Also, you learn that sin is temporary, and God is eternal and that sin brings pain even if there is temporary pleasure, while following God brings joy everlasting.
It is important to note that you cannot appreciate or follow God until you see yourself for who you are (a sinner) and repent.
23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;Romans 3:23 (KJV)
9) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.Romans 10:9-10 (KJV)
Nor can you, Christian, appreciate the value, worth and gravity of following God without considering where you have been (lost) and where you are going by choosing to follow Him (heaven) and who you are working to become (like Him) by purposing in your heart to serve Him.
Therefore I ask you, non-believer, consider what it means to be a Christian, and Christian consider in your heart to serve Him so that in the end you can be not only like Daniel but like Him.
May your heart be purposed, committed and rehearsed so that you may not be defiled by sin and so that you may do what is right and do what is for God. Amen.
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