Several years ago I set out on a journey to change my life. I was tired all the time, my blood pressure was high, and I was extremely overweight. The straw that broke the camel’s back was being diagnosed with Type II diabetes. I had spent most of my life preparing for this diagnosis. I ate unhealthy foods and never exercised. While not consciously, I was on a path that lead to my diagnosis.
As a child, my mother described me as strong-willed. When I made up my mind to do something, little would divert me. This trait proved helpful in the last 3 years. After my diagnosis I ultimately and definitively made up my mind to stay away from all sugar, pasta, and white potatoes. I haven’t knowingly eaten them since. I also set my mind to a course of living a healthy lifestyle; I joined a gym (and actually used my membership), changed my diet, and sought out accountability to live out this new lifestyle.
While recently reflecting on the changes in my life I was reminded of Daniel. He lived during a time of disobedience in Israel. After many warnings, God gave the Babylonians victory over Israel. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, seized Jerusalem and took some of the people of Israel captive (Jeremiah 25:1-11). Nebuchadnezzar brought some of the youth (those of good appearance, without blemish, who were wise and competent) to stand in the king’s Palace. The king wanted to teach them the literature and language of the land and assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for 3 years before standing before the king. Daniel was one of these young men. He loved the Lord and Daniel 1:8 tells us that “Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the kings’ food”. Websters defines resolve as “to make a definite and serious decision to do something”. In other words, Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself and would be obedient to God. The very next verse says “and God gave Daniel favor…”
When it came to my physical lifestyle I made up my mind and resolved to change, but have I done this spiritually? Luke 9:23 says “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Do I wake up every morning and make up my mind to lay down my wants and desires and to commit to following Jesus or do I wake up and make decisions depending on the circumstances around me? You may not recognize it, but when you don’t resolve yourself to follow Jesus daily you allow your circumstances to dictate your obedience.
Let me challenge you to not just wake up, put on your clothes, and start your day. As Daniel did, resolve today to “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God…and put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of it’s creator” (Colossians 3: 2-3,10).