Avoiding pollution of faith
Daniel was a young man when the nation of Babylon overtook his homeland of Israel. Daniel was taken captive and sent to Babylon where he was placed in a school of indoctrination.
Daniel was being trained in the religions, customs and culture of Babylon. But Daniel knew that there were things in the Babylonian culture that were against God and his statutes. So when the king ordered Daniel and the young men with him be given a diet of foods that were previously offered to the Babylonian gods, Daniel did something.
Daniel 1:8 says; “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.”
Daniel was resolved not to defile himself. Although we probably can’t relate to Daniels exact situation, there is huge application for the follower of Jesus. Today there are many things that defile the believer in their relationship with God. The word “defile” means; “To make dirty or to pollute”. Think about that; the bible says that real faith will act in love and not become polluted.
James 1:27 says; “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Real faith is going to show itself in helping the needy and keep itself from being influenced by things that defile. What things pollute today? There are many things the bible declares sinful but our culture says are just fine. There are other things that may be okay for someone else but are not for you as an individual. In either case, these are the things that can defile your relationship with God. In Daniels resolve we find the response of the Christian to anything that can draw you away from trusting God.
Daniel will ask his guard to let him test God by allowing him to go on a vegan diet and the guard agrees to try it for ten days. At the end of ten days the bible says; “Daniel and his friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who ate the royal food.” That’s not a lesson in the value of vegetarianism but a lesson in faith, trusting God and how God honors a resolve not to cave into the world’s ways.
What about you? If you’re a follower of Jesus, we live in a land not unlike Babylon. Our culture says it’s normal to partake of things that God says are not right. Every believer has an opportunity to stand out and say no to what you know is wrong and yes to the ways of God. When you do that, you not only represent God to the culture but they will see a people who are healthier and better nourished than all the rest of the people.
God’s ways are not the ways of the world, God’s ways are higher and the believer is called to live by faith and stand out as a “stranger” to this world.
Pastor Rich Lammay of High Sierra Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.