Early in the book of Daniel we see the King had a program to develop leaders from the countries he had conquered. In Daniel 1:8, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were chosen for this program and put into training. But we see early in the training, that they were faced with a moral dilemma in terms of who they were going to serve and be faithful to -- the King who provided them with food, or their God. Daniel gives us the answer:
“But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the King’s food, or with the wine that he drank.”
In today’s world, we define ourselves and our loyalties by our decisions. In every instance, we need to ask: is this a decision for God or for the world? We see in Daniel, that anything that took his eyes off God was discarded.
Worldly compromises or pursuits that lure you away from God’s ways must be exchanged for God’s wisdom and understanding. The tug of the world must be replaced with the hand of God that will guide you in all that is ahead of you. We see this in Daniel. He had defined himself with God long before he was put in this situation, such that he had an inward peace that didn’t depend on altering outward circumstances. It was based on his belief that Yahweh – Shalom was with him - and that He would bring Daniel through the battle with inner peace and outward victory.
God had shown these things to Daniel in his practice of daily being with God, to prepare him for this moral dilemma. He knew, because of his closeness with God, that what was ahead of him was great victory in overcoming evil. We see this in the book of John:
‘I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace…take heart, I have overcome the world.”
Christian leaders, in today’s complex world, need to make resolutions early in their endeavours to define themselves with God no matter what the circumstances they face. It is much easier to maintain integrity when you have resolved to do what is right before the temptation arises. For everything you give up for Him, He will bless you with much greater.
Be ever attentive to His voice, as I am sure Daniel was, and be ever watchful of the enemy, as He will try to discourage and harm you. But understand that He has defeated the enemy, the devil, and as you stand strong in Him and His Presence, he in no way can harm you.
The world today needs to see Christian leaders with this kind of courage, because the world is filled with enough leaders who constantly have moral failures. These failures ultimately affect their ability to maintain trust and to lead.
If you lead with a strong sense of how you define yourself in God and in particular His Son -- to follow His ways no matter what -- you will see God working through you in miraculous ways, just as He did with Daniel. And the world will be amazed.