7 Question 2

This happens so often, especially to young people who leave home to go away to school.  Sometimes this is a new experience and there are new attractions and distractions that have to be dealt with.

It is often said, and I believe it to be true, that if we don’t have a goal, then we won’t accomplish much.  When you go off into the world, you need to determine that you will not be taken into the world and its temptations.  Let’s look at four young men who made such a determination in Daniel 1:8-17  -“But 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. Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.   Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,  Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.   Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse. As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.”

This was during the time that Israel, because of their disobedience, was in captivity in Babylon.  In this account we read of four faithful young men.  You are probably familiar with Daniel, but maybe not too familiar with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.  You would probably recognize them by their Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  Even in captivity away from their home, these young men made a determination that they would not be defiled by joining the Babylonians in their lifestyles.  Instead of enjoying the king’s meat and wine, which would naturally be the best that the kingdom had to offer, they would rather have pulse, which is a vegetable often used to feed animals, and water.  After ten days of this, these young men were healthier than all the others.  Because of their faithfulness, the Lord blessed them with knowledge and wisdom.

I encourage you to take a stand like these young men did.  Determine that you will not be defiled by giving in to worldly temptations.  Romans 12:1-2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  The Lord doesn’t want you to conform to a world that hates and rejects Him.  The world today is so permissive and ungodly.  It seems there is very little right and wrong anymore.

In His intercessory prayer in the garden just before going to the cross, the Lord prayed for his disciples.  John 17:15-17 says, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”  This tells us that the Lord does want us to be in the world.  We have work to do.  It is up to the believers to represent the Lord Jesus in the world.  He didn’t ask His Father to take us out of the world, rather to keep us from the evil in the world.  What is the evil He is talking about?  Well, 1 John 2:16-17 tells us, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”  The whole idea of being self-absorbed, wanting only the things that bring us earthly pleasure is what keeps the world from coming to the Lord.  But the Lord’s Prayer we just read says that the Lord Jesus asked the Father to sanctify us with the Word.  To sanctify literally means to be set apart.  The Lord wants us to be different.  He doesn’t want us to go along with what the world is doing.  He wants us to be set apart from all the world.  The key to this is to be in God’s Word, which is truth.  Read your Bible on a daily basis.  Let the Word of God strengthen and encourage you.  As you grow closer to the Lord, the temptations of the world will be easier to resist.

It is always helpful to be in a company of true believers.  Find someone in your area that has also determined not to be defiled by the world.  2 Timothy 2:22 tells us, “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  So, while separating from the things that dishonor the Lord, we should realize we need the company of other believers.  Those that call on the Lord out of a pure heart are those that are not defiled by the world’s habits and ways.

I’m thankful that you recognize the dangers of being tempted by the world and that you don’t want to fall into these temptations.  That already shows a good degree of spiritual maturity.