Summary: Self-help excercises for overcoming bad childhood experiences based on the book of Daniel, chapter one.
Childhood can be difficult enough, even if you grow up in the best of circumstances.
Truth is, some of us didn’t have the luxury of growing up in an environment that was always safe and secure. Others of us who did have a pretty good upbringing still have some things we’d like to forget when it comes to our childhood and youth.
There are probably very few who had a more difficult set of circumstances thrust upon them in their formative years than Daniel and his friends. Yet the book of Daniel is an overcomer’s story. It is a fascinating account of how young Daniel and his friends had to reinvent themselves in order to survive.
Taken from their homes against their will and transplanted in a foreign land with foreign customs and culture demanded they make adjustments. It is the story of HOW Daniel and his friends adjusted that gives us great spiritual insight into making changes in our own lives to counteract adverse experiences.
This is the first sermon in the series "Reinventing Your Life". In this first installment we’re going to see how the scriptures deal with how we can overcome childhood experiences.
1. To overcome childhood experiences we must establish and develop good character.
The basic theme in this first chapter of Daniel’s narrative is CHARACTER. Daniel reinvented his life in a new land amidst the trappings of a new culture because he possessed and matured in an area in which each of us must grow in if we are to overcome our past.
Daniel and his friends were in their early to late teens. The king of Babylon had taken control over the physical location of their bodies and subsequently desired control of their mind and will as well.
He assigns each of them new names - names that are associated with the idolatrous gods of Babylon. He has them taught in the new language of their captors. He desires their complete conformity because he knows that if you can mold a person when he is young you have a greater chance of keeping them in that mold throughout life!
Studies have shown that the earlier in life you begin a bad habit the more difficult it is to discontinue that habit later in life. By the power of God any bad habit can be broken no matter how old you are or how long you’ve been engaged in it, but never beginning a bad habit in the first place is the best policy. This is why parents and grandparents cannot afford to grow complacent about the influences and habits of their children.
Do everything that you can to instill good habits in your children in order to encourage them not to begin bad ones. Habits are the building blocks of character.
In Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography he makes no apology for his firm belief in God and how the principles of the Bible shaped his early life. Franklin did not consider himself a Christian because he never made a personal faith commitment to Christ, but he did believe in the practical value of many Christian teachings.
Franklin said he always remembered a verse of Scripture that his father often quoted to him in his printing shop in Boston. Proverbs 22:29 - "Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings..." Franklin claims that because of the habit of diligent labor his father taught him, he succeeded where others had failed. He opened his own printer’s shop in Philadelphia at age 17 and became so successful he eventually became one of the most respected men in the American colonies. And yes, as the scripture verse says, he did stand before kings - five of them in all! Why? Because a father instilled a godly habit in his son in the days of his youth.
Noted author on leadership John Maxwell tells of a policy of his father that made a lifelong impact on him. When he was growing up, his minister father never paid his kids an allowance for doing chores. It was his belief that you took out the trash or washed the dishes because you were a member of the family and had responsibility like everyone else.
If you wanted an allowance you had to read for it! Maxwell’s father gave his children a list of books and said, "For every book on this list you complete I will pay you so much money." Maxwell, who is one of the best-known motivational speakers in the world today testifies, "It was that one habit instilled in me by my father that made all the difference in the world in my life!"
King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon knew this principle. Even though his heart and motives were not godly, he knew the value of shaping the young mind and will. These young leaders in Daniel chapter one, who would have become princes in their own land, are set aside to be brainwashed and assimilated into the mainstream of a way of life that would alter their hopes for spiritual equilibrium.