Deciding to follow Jesus

Vintage engraving of Daniel praying. Daniel is the hero of the biblical Book of Daniel. A noble Jewish youth of Jerusalem, he is taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and serves the king and his successors with loyalty and ability until the time of the Persian conqueror Cyrus

Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank.

Daniel 1:8.

The book of Daniel is rich in prophetic statements, but it begins in the man’s heart. All knowledge whether about prophecy or the Bible in general must be based on our affection for the Lord. Only then will it prove its worth in the trials of life. Our heart is what the Lord desires (cf. Proverbs 23:26). That characterized Daniel. He had made a decision for his God before becoming a captive at the court of the heathen king referred to above. His heart belonged to God, and God’s Word meant more to him than any human authority. What a bright example that young man was!

It is important that we learn from our youth not only that constitutes Christian conduct, but that it is motivated by love and faithfulness to the Lord Jesus. Whoever has come to know Him as Saviour through faith will readily think of Him. If we consider the love that led Him to suffer and die for us, if we think of the care with which the Good Shepherd tends us, then He will mean increasingly more to us and fill our heart.

In strange or worldly surroundings, to which we are all exposed, the state of our heart will be seen, as it was with Daniel. Daniel was far from home, but he refused to over-step boundaries learnt from God’s Word. In a certain sense we, too, are far from the early days, when the believers “continued steadfastly” in happy fellowship (cf. Acts 2:42). But where love for the Lord fills the heart, faithfulness to His Word will result even today.