When Daniel and his friends were sent to Babylon as captives, their new environment was vastly different from everything they had ever known. Even their names were forcibly changed to reflect the pagan culture. They were about to be indoctrinated into the Babylonian culture and forced to worship false gods. It would have been easy for them to succumb to these pressures and to let themselves be changed internally.
The key to maintaining our identity in the midst of temptation is to focus on God, not on our circumstances.
Daniel and his friends knew that their identity came from God and not from their circumstances, names, or assigned place in society. And even though their trials happened thousands of years ago, it is not much different from what we face in our society today.
Every day our faith is tested. We are fed lies about our source of identity and self-esteem, and we are pushed toward pagan belief systems and behaviors. Society tempts us with success and luxury, the media shows us glitz and glamour, and our neighbors expect us to be more and more tolerant of their sins. So how are we to maintain our identity in such an overbearing society?
As Daniel shows us, the key to maintaining our identity in the midst of temptation is to focus on God, not on our circumstances. We need to remember that our identity comes from who God says we are—and if we have accepted Christ as our Savior, then we are God's children in Christ. We know that through Jesus we are righteous—we did not earn our own salvation. We know that we are forgiven and can live each day with a clean slate. We know we have eternal life, and no matter what trials we face, they cannot take away our home in heaven. We know that within us lives the Holy Spirit who guides us through the most challenging circumstances. We know that we are loved by God and are forever a part of His Kingdom.
Prayer: Father, I thank You that I am Your child and forever a part of Your Kingdom. Help me to stay focused on You and rejoice in my identity in You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1 John 3:1).
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