Could we say that a successful Christian life consists of having victory over sin? It is easy to focus on ministry and activities a person does. We measure the success of a pastor by the size of the local church he leads. We read a missionary biography and are impressed by how many tribes that person reaches. In the secular world success is measure by accomplissement.
More I read the Bible more I find that true success is more related to holiness. We are engaged in a spiritual battle against sin. Real success seems to have a moment by moment victory over sin. The good news is that God gave us the power to have such victory. It is a live a life similar to the life Jesus lived on earth. To live like Christ in a fallen world.
Let me share with you a note written by Hannah Whitall Smith to her cousin Carrie on February 26, 1867.
The whole matter lies in this—trusting Jesus to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. It is taking Him to be our daily, hourly, momentary Saviour from the power of sin, just exactly as we took Him to be our Saviour from its guilt. We have actually no more to do in the one case then in the other. He assumes all the responsibility and accomplishes all the work. Our only part is to commit ourselves to Him, and trust Him with implicit faith. All you can do is to commit yourself to Him this very moment to begin the work from now and carry it on in His own way. Just say to Him continually, “I trust you, I trust you.” And you will find that your faith will grow wonderfully. Try the plan of handing over your temptations to Him to conquer, and you will be astonished at its success. In short, trust Him with your whole self, with all your life—every moment of it, with everything you are, or have, or do. Let Him, in short, be your life. It is a great trust, but He is worthy of it. He cannot possibly fail you in the least particular. He is infinitely trustworthy. No human words can set forth His worthiness to be trusted to the uttermost. It seems to me I never really trusted Him before, and it makes my heart ache to think of the long years in which I have dishonored Him so much when He was so worthy to be trusted!
Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).
“Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” (Daniel 1:8)
I always admire Daniel determination to stay clean in a very corrupt environment. He was in his teen years when he took such a bold stand in front of the most powerful man of that time. What a great example for today Christian youth. Lets pray for our own children and grandchildren that they will emulate “Daniel” dedication.
The words of the song, “Dare to be a Daniel,” emphasize this truth. Our verse reports that Daniel did a very daring thing. He made a holy resolve in his heart. We note the calendar in the resolve, the character of the resolve, and the courage in the resolve.
Calendar in the resolve. We often make resolves early in the year. Daniel made this resolve early in his life, for he was no older than a teenager when he made this resolve. You do not have to be up in years before you start living for God. It is better to start living for God when old than never; but when you start living for God early in life, you give a lifetime for God and prevent many wasted and sin-scarred years.
Character of the resolve. “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” There are two important notes here about the character of Daniel’s resolve. They concern the site and the subject of the resolve.
First, the site. The resolve was made in his heart. It was not just words to impress people, but it was in his heart which gave it strength. Too much dedication today is only outward. It does not come from the heart and it will not last.
Second, the subject. The resolve had to do with purity, for Daniel would not “defile” himself with the king’s food and drink. Many folk resolve to do a lot of things, but few resolve to live a holy life. But the resolve to holiness is the kind of resolve we need more than anything else.
Courage in the resolve. Daniel had to have much courage when he made this resolve, for he was a captive under the authority and custody of wicked men, and he was going against the king’s wishes. If you are going to live a pure life, you will have to have courage. It will not be popular and many will protest and mock. But stick with your holy resolve, for it will bring you Divine blessings.
Extract from John G Butler, Daily Bible Reading: Sermonettes #1
In accordance with the Father’s good pleasure, the eternal Son, who is equal with the Father and is the exact representation of His nature, willingly left the glory of heaven, was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin, and was born the God-man: Jesus of Nazareth. As a man, He walked on this earth in perfect obedience to the law of God. In the fullness of time, men rejected and crucified Him. On the cross, He bore man’s sin, suffered God’s wrath, and died in man’s place. On the third day, God raised Him from the dead. This resurrection is the divine declaration that the Father has accepted His Son’s death as a sacrifice for sin. Jesus paid the penalty for man’s disobedience, satisfied the demands of justice, and appeased the wrath of God. Forty days after the resurrection, the Son of God ascended into the heavens, sat down at the right hand of the Father, and was given glory, honor, and dominion over all. There, in the presence of God, He represents His people and makes requests to God on their behalf. All who acknowledge their sinful, helpless state and throw themselves upon Christ, God will fully pardon, declare righteous, and reconcile unto Himself.This is the gospel of God and of Jesus Christ, His Son