The story of Daniel begins with the Babylonians conquering Israel and then forcing their young men to join the Babylonan military. To do this, the men were to become like the Babylonians. The training they received included learning the Babylonian language and being taught literature. They even went as far as introducing their cuisine, and this is where the story gets interesting. There are four men who request a special diet so they do not ”defile themselves with royal food and wine.” I have often wondered how these men were able to have the confidence to ask such a request, and I believe it comes down to discipline. These four young men trusted their God and knew that if they were committed to what they believed, God would deliver them. And guess what? God did. The text says that at the end of the trial period, “they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.”
So what are we to take away from the story of Daniel 1? First, if you want to live a better life, you have to live a different one. This may mean at times rejecting what everyone else around you is doing and holding fast to the life that God is calling you to live. And second, we need to recognize that living a disciplined life isn’t about rejecting fun or excitement. It’s about equipping us to face the challenges that we may experience in life.
Later in the book of Daniel, Daniel finds himself at odds with an ordinance from King Darius. Essentially, Daniel can either bow down to the Babylonian gods or continue following the commands of his one true God. Again, this is where Daniel’s discipline comes to light. Even when it may cost Daniel everything, he stays committed to God’s way. And again, God delivers. This week, consider areas in your life that you may need to be more disciplined in. Why do you believe that God is leading you in that direction or drawing attention to that area? And finally, in what ways can you bless others by being more disciplined?