“But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.” – Daniel 1: 8
Humility in the face of rejection and disagreement – is it really possible? In today’s contemporary culture where Bible-believing Christians are becoming a minority, it’s all too easy to respond in anger or disrespect towards those who belittle or reject our faith and values. The problem with this attitude is that as Christians respond in anger, they tend to do more harm than good to the cause of Christ. Why? Because this attitude often displays zero respect towards others – especially those in authority – and those who have a different cultural mindset.
Now don’t get me wrong, showing humility and respect towards leaders who possess different beliefs and values does NOT mean agreeing and accepting the status quo. Take a look at Daniel, a captive being educated in the king of Babylon’s court. When faced with the decision to blend in and discard the dietary teachings God had given the people of Israel (See Lev. 11 & Deut. 14) or stand up to the king, Daniel chose the latter.
But how exactly did he stand up to the authority of the day? Daniel sought permission. Now that’s some kind of humility to show such respect to this foreign government official. He could have approached him in arrogant, self-righteousness by saying, “This is what God has called me to do. I don’t care what you say; I’m not doing it!” Daniel was not going to compromise his conscience, but by asking permission, Daniel displayed tremendous humility and respect towards the authority of the day.
In today’s increasingly secular culture, how can you stand boldly for your faith while respecting the leadership in your workplace, government, or university? Ask God for Daniel’s humility, boldness, and wisdom to know how to stand up for your faith in a way that garners respect. It might just open up a door to share your faith with someone who would have never listened before.