But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. Daniel 1:8 NLT
I’d done it many times before, but now each time got a little more uncomfortable.
The movie theater in our town has been around for a while, but the owner recently renovated parts of it. One part not touched was the theaters themselves, or the seats in them. Recently, I noticed my arms and hands falling asleep when I watched a movie. When I checked the arm cushioning, I knew why. The cushions had worn down and seeped below the framework of the armrest, letting my arm rest on the hard wood. I also noticed my back hurting more. Same reason. The seat cushions had deteriorated as well.
Like the theater seats, some things in life are plain uncomfortable. Some I can do something about—I can take a cushion to the movie theater or just stop going—and some I can’t. I can’t make the owners replace the seats, nor can I take my own.
Daniel was uncomfortable with his new culture. Foreign invaders carted him and thousands of others off to a new land, where gods they didn’t worship existed, and where food they didn’t consume was prevalent.
Daniel decided he’d do something. He asked for an alternate diet—and was granted one—and he kept praying even after an order was given not to pray for thirty days to any other god other than the king.
Like it or not, our culture normally runs countercultural to God’s culture. While some of our laws reflect His commands and principles, many don’t—and the ones that do are often disobeyed by the citizens.
We can’t always change what we don’t enjoy about our culture, but we can influence it, as Daniel did, by living according to God’s principles whether others do or not. We can stand for what’s right and be an example in a culture that needs to see our godly witness. When we have the power to enact change, we should … at least try.
We should also influence our culture … regardless of the cost. Daniel found himself in the lion’s den when he bucked his culture. We’ll probably find ourselves persecuted or misunderstood in some way too, but those things don’t negate our responsibility to be God’s light in a dark world.
If your culture makes you uncomfortable, ask God what you can do about it. Then do it.
Prayer: Father, give us the courage to stand up for Your principles in a world that often disobeys them.
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