Deciding Ahead Of Time

I’m a home body. Most of the time I’d be most content to spend the day, the evening, at home. I know other people like to go new places and have different experiences. That’s not me. It never has been me. Mostly I go to places I have to go: the grocery store and the like. You’d be right to think I sound borderline agoraphobic. Except, I’m not afraid. I just like home best.

So on occasion I have things come up that require me to go somewhere: a writers’ meeting, church, lunch or a movie with friends, church. What I realized was that I would try to hold out to the last minute to actually make the decision to go, especially if no one was actually expecting me to be somewhere.

Like church.

Every Sunday I found myself wrestling with myself to decide to go. Until I made up my mind to go to church because I go to church.

I recently realized this was the type of making up his mind that Daniel did. He and his friends had been hauled off to Babylon, put into the special training program for future service to the king, and given special food. Probably meat offered to idols, though the Bible only says it was the kings choice meat and wine.

Daniel decided not to defile himself. Since meat is not defiling in and of itself, by implication I conclude there was something connected to false religion in the killing or preparing of this meat. (Could have been that the blood had not been drained out as God required of the Jews. We don’t really know).

The point is, Daniel didn’t sit down day after day and argue himself into not eating that food. He made up his mind. He went about getting his food changed by following the proper channels. When there was reluctance to go with his plan, he negotiated. Because he’d made up his mind ahead of time.

I think Christian disciplines are like that. Should I get up early to read my Bible? Should I go to church the Sunday? Should I pray today? Should I memorize Scripture?

All those things we can decide, and then stick with our decision. It’s almost like asking, Should I eat breakfast? Should I go to the gym? Should I walk the dog? There are some things that seem optional until we realize they hold something critical for our well being.

Daniel took care of his problem right from the start:

Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. (Daniel 1:8)

I wonder how many self-arguments and struggles to make decisions I would save myself if I simply made up my mind ahead of time.

Published in: on May 15, 2019 at 4:30 pm  Comments (4)  
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  1. This story is a go-to story for me. Being intentional makes a huge difference in our Christian lives, Becky. This is a short snippet from a short thing I wrote once:

    Daniel was ready. He had purposed in his heart that he would not partake of this sinful behavior. It seems evident that this was likely not a surprise that this request was made of the young men. Daniel was ready. He understood the environment in which he lived and understood some of the temptations he would likely be facing. I like to think he had thought out his response before the temptation ever actually showed up. How many of us do that in our own lives? How many of us are seemingly caught by surprise by the temptations that beset us and quickly succumb, then claim we “just couldn’t help ourselves?” Maybe if we paid more attention to where, and among whom we live, we might likewise respond in a firmer, more intentional way to these things.

    Thanks for the great reminder, Becky

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Rebecca, I’ve been too busy. My decisions are often what should I avoid going to! We have no minister now and I find myself running around doing pastoral care so my writing suffers. Your blog reminded me of making firm decisions. One I made this year was to read the Bible through and I have enjoyed an adventure through to Samuel2 so far and always a psalm and gospel. It has reminded me of consistency and that God is always there for us. Daniel knew this well. I have always liked going back to his story from time to time. I must read your blogs again too!
    All the best J.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane, it’s so good to see you again. Happy to hear you are doing the work of serving the King and are in His word. What a difference that makes for us. Yes, Daniel stands as a great example of many things, not the least our need to decide and stick to what we decide.



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