Whenever I go to the movie theater, I always buy popcorn. It’s guaranteed. I don’t wait until I get there to decide whether or not I want some. If I know I’m going to see a movie, I plan my meals around the popcorn I’ll eat at the theater. The same is true for certain restaurants. I don’t have to see a menu or wait for a craving to kick in; I decide in advance what I’m going to order.
Daniel is a Bible character known for being resolute. Daniel 1:8 says he “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” Exiled to Babylon, Daniel was an outstanding young man selected to King Nebuchadnezzar’s service. Many people would’ve understood if Daniel chose to compromise his convictions under such unique circumstances. But he didn’t. In fact, the language of Daniel 1 suggests that he didn’t wait for temptation to come; he decided in advance to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, come what may.
Having been singled out for his faith, Daniel’s resolve to honor God eventually landed him in a den of lions. How did Daniel muster up the courage to be faithful with such a horrific fate at stake? Simple. He had already decided to be faithful a long time ago. There was nothing left to consider or think through. His heart was set on obedience.
My husband David is a lot like Daniel. Tomorrow is his birthday, and his life is a testimony of what it looks like to “pre-decide” to obey the Lord. When challenges arise, David is committed to doing what’s right. Often he has to prayerfully consider what faithfulness looks like, but I’ve never seen him question if faithfulness is worth the trouble.
Like Daniel and David, we too can purpose in our hearts to honor the Lord. We don’t have to wait to see what appealing temptation is on the menu. Instead, by the grace of God, we can set our hearts on living in a manner worthy of Him. We’ll stumble and fall along the way, but the value of faithfully obeying the Lord far outweighs what it might cost us.
I’m sure Daniel would agree.