Integrity

August 31, 2018

Daniel 1:8… But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.

            Daniel was believed to be about 17 years old when he was taken into exile. Exile was a new experience. There were no Jewish elders looking over his shoulder. There was probably very little talk about how one ought to act in exile. And how would you act? …If you were bound and taken from your home and set in a new country with entirely different laws and priorities? At 17, I think I would have been tempted to enjoy rib eye steaks and wine from the kings table. He was offered that. After all, he was adjusting to his new life in exile. There were no rules to prevent him. But, from within himself… from his own convictions… he resolved not to eat food that was not allowed to him back home, before the exile. And he resolved not to enjoy the wine he was offered.

            This was not a church led decision. The elders were not around. I am always challenged by this story. I, like many people, would like to think that if I was thrown into a lions’ den when I am old, God would spare me as He did Daniel. In a study of Daniel’s life, one should not ignore this story when, as a young man, he chose to honor God when nobody was telling him to. After all, wasn’t exile like separation from God? And didn’t He allow/cause it?  

            Studies have been done that have shown young people in college tend to forget their spiritual upbringing and depart from faith. The temptations, sans family and church, are just too great. The word I use to describe Daniel’s attitude is ‘integrity.’ My definition of integrity is “doing the right thing when no one will find out.” We make many decisions every day. Mostly, we chose what will look good in the eyes of others. For example, do you choose clothes to wear that make you look stupid or unknowing? Why not?

            I have a tendency to not look in mirrors. Sometimes, before we leave the house, Karla will say to me, “Are you going to comb your hair?” I look in a mirror and realize I don’t want to be seen as I look. What drives that thought? Opinions. Daniel cared more about God’s opinion than man’s… at a young age.