But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself… Daniel 1:8 NASB
What do I stand for? What I stand for defines who I am and who I am defines my purpose.
At what point in your life did you determine what or who you stand for and do you know your purpose? When the legendary Billy Graham was asked, “What is your purpose?” he answered:
My purpose is to go into the whole world and proclaim this message. There is only one message that can change people's hearts. I want to tell people about the meaning of the cross. Not the cross that hangs on the wall, or around someone’s neck, but the real cross of Christ. It’s scarred and bloodstained. Christ came so He could die because God loves you and is willing to forgive you of your sins. (The Cross movie)
Billy Graham knew who he was and what he stood for because Billy Graham knew the great “I Am.”
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Exodus 3:14
A legacy of faith continues to run from God through Billy Graham into the hearts of many people who hear the Gospel and believe. Do you think Billy Graham could have ever imagined the impact he would have or the legacy He would leave at the end of His story?
Billy Graham knew his identity came from Jesus Christ, which determined what he stood for, which gave him his purpose in life.
Many people will look at their jobs, school, families, or other relationships to determine their purpose. We all want to be great spouses, moms, and employees in the best jobs. While these may be great goals, goals are not the same as purpose. We set goals to help us through life. But what if we began with the end in mind? Would the way you live your life today change if you knew the end of your story?
Billy Graham lived with purpose by faith, just as Daniel in the Old Testament lived with purpose by faith. But when did Daniel’s convictions begin? At what point in time during his life did Daniel’s heart become alive for God?
In 640 B.C. King Josiah of Jerusalem read the words of the book of the law for the first time and tore his clothes (2 Kings 22:11). Shortly after that, he gathered all of the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to hear the book of the law and establish a covenant with God (2 Kings 23). Daniel, a young boy at the time, heard the words and believed.
At what point in time did you hear the Word of God and believe?
Daniel’s heart became alive for God. He understood the greatness of God when he heard the beginning of the story, and he knew the end of the story, just as Billy Graham knew the end of the story. They understood the prophecy foretold in Genesis 3:15 NIV: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." In the end, Jesus will return, and Jesus wins.
Daniel feared God in an awesome way, which is why he kept His commandments, listened for His voice, served Him, and clung to God at all times. He knew where his identity came from, which gave him a purpose in life. When you know who you stand for, your purpose becomes clear and it becomes much easier to make up your mind ahead of time.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 NIV
Heavenly Father, I praise You for those who have gone ahead of us as examples in our faith. I praise You for Daniel from the Old Testament and Billy Graham from today. They made up their minds ahead of time because they saw their identity in You. They stood for You, which gave them purpose in life: To know You and to make You known. May each one of us learn from their examples and may the spiritual seed of our faith continue to travel through us. My we continue to grow in You, to know You, and to reach out to make You known. May this be our beautiful legacy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.