“The proof of spiritual maturity is not how pure you are but awareness of your impurity. That very awareness opens the door to grace.”
I appreciate how Daniel in the Old Testament didn’t fear man. He was more concerned about pleasing God than he was about fitting in with everyone else. “But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank” (Daniel 1:8). Daniel was determined not to become unclean or impure by partaking of the royal food. He chose to be consecrated and set apart for the Lord. His mind was made up to stay pure and loyal to the King of Kings, not King Nebuchadnezzar.
Fortunately, the Lord caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel and his three friends. They were allowed to only eat vegetables and drink water, to test and see how the ‘Daniel diet’ would affect their appearance. The result: they looked healthier and better nourished than those who ate the royal food. God also gave them knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning and Daniel understood visions and dreams of all kinds (Daniel 1:17). When we set our minds to being undefiled, we too will receive God’s favor.
God has asked me to do things or not do things that cause me to stand out and look different. That’s an uncomfortable place for me to be, knowing I don’t fit in with everyone else. Not belonging can be a lonely place to be. God asks me to sacrifice the comfort of being like others in order to be set apart for His use.
Being determined to not defile ourselves, whether it’s by not eating or drinking something, by the purity of choices we make with what we watch or read and the activities we participate in, will make a difference in our countenance. People will notice we’re different and God will grant us favor and will anoint us in ministry.
Being set apart requires a sacrifice. But the pain and loss from that is well worth what you gain with God in the long run. Be like Daniel and have the same determination and resolve that he displayed to be undefiled. People will notice the difference because your appearance will look more like Jesus.
“God doesn’t seek for golden vessels, and does not ask for silver ones, but He must have clean ones.”
Dwight L. Moody