Summary: If we want to dare to be different then we need to be sure of who we are, why we’re here and where our strength comes from.
Part 1 Sacred Living in a Secular Society
“Dare to be Different” - An Overview of Daniel
We live in a society that wants us to conform, but we are called by Christ to be different.
And even if you’re not yet a Christian, there’s a sense in which life is a struggle to conform. That’s because you were never meant to live in a world like the one you find yourself in. You were not created to live in a world that has the presence of sin, injustice, wrongdoing and evil. That was never God’s intention for you. And so we feel this pressure to conform to the world around us.
But whether you are a Christian or if you’re not, Daniel has some great advice on how to rise above the ordinary in this world. - how to live the sacred life in a secular society.
1. DANIEL KNEW WHO HE WAS
If we want to dare to be different in a world that wants us to conform, then we must settle in our minds, once and for all, just who we are.
It seems Daniel had a balanced self-esteem. Daniel knew what he was worth and his incredible value in God’s eyes – and this shaped his behavior.
Nebuchanezzar was the Babylonian king. When his chief official arranged for Daniel and his friends to eat the royal food, “Daniel resolved not to defile himself .... this way” (Daniel 1:8). And this is probably because that food had been offered to pagan idols first. And Daniel knew that eating it was something a child of God shouldn’t do.
Likewise it seems Daniel had respect for his health also. He had a balanced self-esteem and a healthy self-respect for his body too.
The Bible encourages healthy living and care for the body.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body (1 Corinthian 6:19-20).
Daniel has a solid self-confidence – showing that he had surrendered even his intellect to the Lord as well. Talking about Daniel and his friends we read ....
In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom (Daniel 1:20).
Daniel used his natural gifts, skills and abilities to be the best he could.
If you want to dare to be different in a world that wants you to conform, then you must settle in your mind, once and for all, just who you are and just how precious you are to God.
And if you Believe then this is who you are ...
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God (John 1:12-13).
2. DANIEL KNEW WHY HE WAS HERE.
Secondly, If you want to dare to be different in a world that wants you to conform, then you must settle in your mind, once and for all, just why you are here.
a. Daniel lived his life for an audience of one – his Lord.
In 10:12, Daniel has a vision of Jesus, and in this vision, Jesus says to him .....
..... "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them (Daniel 10:12).
Daniel lived for an audience of one – his Lord. He was humble before God. And he recognized that God alone could give him wisdom and insight, and so he submitted his life to him.
b. Daniel wasn’t easily distracted from his life’s purpose.
Under great pressure, Daniel showed that wealth, power and money were no distraction to him. Once king Nebachadnezzar offered Daniel payment to interpret some writing ......
Then Daniel answered the king, "You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means (Daniel 5:17).
He refused to “perform” spiritual gifts for any reward. He was content with enough rather than excess.
c. Daniel didn’t allow the fear of people to dissuade him from his life’s purpose.
Once he rebuked even the king of Babylon!
"But you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven (Daniel 5:22-23).