I am absolutely fascinated by the Bible, and the more I study it, the more fascinated I become. The more I get to know the godly characters, the more I am challenged to be more godly myself. The more I see faithfulness in the midst of impossible circumstances, the more I long to be used by God and do great things for Him in spite of whatever obstacles might come.
I had the privilege of doing a 21-day Daniel fast this month, and it was an interesting experience to say the least. I feel that I was overwhelmed by lessons and challenges from God, yet I only received a taste of all that God wants to teach me during this season in my life. In the end I felt like many things were starting, but that the journey will lead to much deeper places. I am excited to put myself out there in much more radical faith and obedience than this short fast.
One of the dangerous things that I prayed was that God would develop His character in me and that He would show me ways that I still needed to grow. That has turned out to be a sometimes painful process, but I am trusting that in the end the result will be a pure heart and a much stronger love for others. One of the ways that God has truly challenged me in character development is through the story of Daniel.
I am by no means an expert on the book of Daniel, because it is definitely one of the more complicated books in the Bible in terms of prophecy and spiritual gifts. If we were to look at the big picture of his life, however, we could sum it up to say that it was quite abnormal and abstract in relation to the lives of…well…about everyone else that we read about. It is like Daniel lived in an entirely different dimension – a spiritual dimension – and the rest of society was pretty impacted by that. God placed Daniel in a position of great influence, and he used that influence to bring Himself glory and honor. Daniel was faithful to the maximum in whatever role he was placed. He sometimes stood in bold opposition to the rules of this world to defend the honor of his God. God gave him supernatural abilities to interpret dreams or signs and wonders and he boldly and confidently fulfilled his purpose in those moments. He was visited several times by angels sent by God in response to his prayers and fasting; these angels told him secrets about the heart of God and about the future. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to spend the night in a den full of lions, to watch an angel shut their mouths, and to sit in quiet peace as the midnight hours passed. What an incredible life! And it all came about because Daniel was a man that sought the heart of God and accepted with courage and wisdom every challenge that was brought his way. I want to live like that. I am sure that what we read about him is only a taste of what his life was really like. After all, who can sum up a lifetime in 12 chapters?
I want a supernatural relationship with God, and I am fully aware that there are worldly consequences to desiring and actively seeking that in prayer. However, as Kingdom people, we are called to the Daniel way. We are called to radical obedience. We are called to prayer. We are called to want God more than the very food we eat. What a small sacrifice it is to give up “pleasant foods” for 21 days to know Him more, to seek to be conformed to His character and His heart, and to ask for wisdom and direction during complicated situations. We are called to a lifetime of seeking His face and doing whatever it takes to bring His Kingdom and to allow His will to be done, as the Lord’s prayer says, on earth as it is in heaven. If there is anything that I have discovered about God recently, it is that He ALWAYS honors the heart that chooses to seek Him in an honest and pure way. He honors all that we give to Him and all that we give up for Him.
I am looking forward to the next few steps in the journey of discovering more about the Daniel way. Just like Daniel was truly a man of God, I want to truly be a woman conformed to the heart of God, living this life I have been given radically. May Christ find in me a willing instrument that He can use.