Godly Discipline Leads to Success
“Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourself completely to God . . . as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God” (Romans 6:13 NLT).
Daniel had a choice. Eat the king’s food, or control his ego and his appetite.
Daniel chose the latter.
Many teenagers wouldn’t have made that choice. Think about it. You’re 15 years old, and you’ve been taken by force from your home country. You’re never going to see your parents again. You’re in a foreign country with no parental supervision. Then the most powerful man in that country offers you all kinds of perks and says, “You’re going to be on my personal staff. I’m going to give you power, prestige, and pleasure. You’ll get the best of everything.”
Could you turn that down?
Just consider what we see sometimes in sports. A kid can shoot a basketball, throw a football, or swing a bat. They’re drafted into the professional leagues and receive tons of money. They’re given all kinds of perks, but they can’t handle that kind of success. Good kids can be ruined by too much success, too early.
That could have easily been Daniel’s story, but it wasn’t. He was incredibly disciplined for a 15-year-old kid isolated from his parents. Daniel reflected what Paul wrote hundreds of years later, when he said in Romans 6:13: “Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourself completely to God . . . as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God” (NLT).
For Daniel, a lack of discipline would mean forfeiting God’s unique plan for his life. Daniel wouldn’t do that.
So he tells the most powerful man in the world, “Nebuchadnezzar, I’m going to serve you because God put me here. I’m not here without his permission, so I’ll serve you. You are a pagan king. But I’m not going to be indebted to you or conformed by you. You can give me all these kind of perks, but I’m never going to forget that I’m not you. I’m not one of you. I’m Jewish. I’m not Babylonian.”
That’s maturity — and discipline, particularly for a 15-year-old. When we’re disciplined and obedient and following God’s will, we will be successful in God’s eyes.
Talk It Over
- How have you seen someone’s lack of discipline hurt other people?
- Where in your life do you struggle most with discipline? Why?
- What are some ways you can grow in your discipline?
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This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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