Lately, I have been navigating some waters that require me to decide how to choose integrity. It always seems surprising, but sometimes that is harder to figure out than I initially realize it should be. The waters are often murky, and- not surprisingly- people have different perceptions and understanding of what is actually right and wrong. Years ago, my sister always shared a mantra with me and that was that “you should always try to keep yourself blameless” in any situation. In other words, follow that path that keeps you free of heart and clear of mind. She has fully lived that motto, and I have learned from her over the years.
Discouragement comes in many forms, and discouragement can lead people to make choices that lead to darkness and not to light. I reflect on this personally as my young adult children face ever increasing challenges as they navigate their worlds. Privileged to be a trusted advisor and confidante, often I don’t have the answers. It’s hard.
8 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. 9 And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, 10 and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” 11 Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.” 14 So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food. 16 So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
Daniel’s story has always meant so much to me, and I love the example he provides of being set apart from the world and worldly things. His radical trust in God exhorts me to do the same, and that can mean making choices for the sake of integrity that do not make sense to the world. As I navigate different circumstances and scenarios in this complex world, I know that keeping a heart integral to the Lord is what deeply matters.
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
4 Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually is one of my favorite scriptures and a good “daily focus” verse for me each day. Especially when I face murkiness or unclear decisions.
May we all walk in integrity and the Lord give us grace and a clear, sensitive conscience!
Lord, help me to clearly know right from wrong according to You and keep me and my family free from sin. May we always walk in the Light. In You, there is no darkness at all. There is also no fear, for Love drives out fear. In Jesus Name, Amen.