Through life, we carry with us many preferences. For instance, I prefer sugar in my tea…like a lot! I was in Texas too long, ya’ll! I prefer a shower over a bath, time with God when I wake up instead of jumping to action right away and being with friends over being at home alone. These are all part of the preferences I bring through life with me.
There was a boy and his friends that had something stronger than preferences, though. These guys had specific beliefs and desires placed upon them by God.
You can read about them in Daniel 1. Starting in verse 8, we see that Daniel and his friends had chosen not to eat or drink the meat and wine that were given to them by the king.
Now let me explain this a little. This wasn’t as if you were invited to eat dinner with the president of the United States and while eating you informed him that you preferred not eat the steak he served. This was much more than that.
These boys believed in God and therefore had believed very strongly in not eating meat. It was a calling over them from God. It was a conviction.
By choosing not to eat this meat and take the wine, they more than could have offended the king but could have been killed or brought death to the men over them. No one stood against the king in this way and therefore that is why there is a story in the Bible about them!
Then again we see Daniel’s friends. As if their names didn’t set them apart enough, Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego, their decision not to bow to the 90 foot statue of the King made them stand out like a sore thumb!
There was a decree that went out demanding, whenever the music played, everyone was to stop and bow to this statue/idol. These boys believed in only the one true GOD and therefore committed not to give their worship to anyone but Him.
Now, if anyone did not do as the king said, it was commanded that they be thrown into a fiery furnace. No little slap on the hand or shun from the towns people….DEATH by fire!
These were men of CONVICTION. All four of them had a passion deep inside of them, a calling and burden and they were committed not to go against their beliefs, even if it would be the cause of their death.
We live in a world of many preferences but we are very much lacking conviction.
Conviction is a life change. It is a way of life and your heart and mind are so devoted to it that you do not stray.
Daniel made up his mind that he would not eat meat. It was his conviction and when the stakes got high and the choice was hard, he honored that with his actions.
His friends made up their minds also, they would not honor or worship anyone but their God. They could have just bowed knowing the truth in their hearts. That would have been a lot easier and less dramatic of an ending but they chose to stay standing while everyone else bowed.
A conviction is not a list of do’s or don’ts. We are not given a list to obey. A list like this is exhausting and honestly almost impossible to keep. Not to mention, with a list, when completed, you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done because YOU did it!
Instead, conviction comes from a heart transformed from the inside out. We gain conviction from a life of love, love for the one who gives the conviction and that is Jesus Christ.
When we are fully in love with Him, deeply taking in all He has to speak to us, we can not help but desire what He desire.
John 14:15 says, “If you love me, obey my commandments.”
He didn’t say, “Because I told you this and because I created everything, OBEY MY COMMANDMENTS” No, He said, If you love me, you will obey.
Like I said before, convictions are a matter of the heart.
Daniel and His friends made a huge impact on their generation and are still being read about today. They had a belief, a conviction, and they did not back down no matter what it cost them.
In the end, Daniel and the boys’ conviction to obey God and only eat vegetables showed the King he was wrong. These boys were stronger, wiser and healthier than any of the men who had eaten the meat. The king was so impressed that he placed them in his royal court. Didn’t see that one coming!
And what happened to Daniel’s friends? Well, they were thrown in the furnace. Sometimes our convictions will leave us in an uncomfortable place but God, the One they did this for in the first place, was there with them. They were not alone and not a flame touched any of them.
In amazement the Kings men took them out of the furnace and here is the best part: Daniel 3:28-30
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!”30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.
Without convictions, without a heart and mind committed to a decision, none of this would have happened. A whole nation saw and believed in God’s power!
We are missing out on such a miracle.
We are women with many preferences but lack conviction.
Choose conviction over convenience. You don’t know if your story may be the one to change the world.
Cassandra writes at Raising Up Stones where she encourages mothers and wives to embrace what may seem like the longest days but are the shortest years of their lives. She has been married to her best friend, who can always make her laugh, for 10 years. Together they have three children and she began homeschooling her kindergartner and Preschooler this year (as the one year old destroys the house!). Her passion for making each moment count with her children, finding romance in the chaos and experiencing real intimacy with God is evident in all that she writes. She hopes to inspire and encourage women in each of these areas. You can join the journey on her blog, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.