Maintaining Our Identity
When Daniel and his friends were sent to Babylon as captives, their new environment was in stark contrast to everything they had ever known. Even their names were forcibly changed to reflect the pagan culture. They were about to be indoctrinated into the Babylonian culture and forced to worship false gods. It would have been easy for them to succumb to these pressures and to let themselves be changed internally.
Daniel and his friends knew that their identity came from God, not from their circumstances, their names, or what society told them to be. And even though their situation happened thousands of years ago, it is not much different from what we face in our society today.
Every day we are fed lies about our source of identity and self-esteem; we are pushed toward pagan belief systems and behaviors, and our faith is tested. Society tempts us with success and luxury, the media shows us glitz and glamour, and our neighbors expect us to be more tolerant of their sins. So how are we to maintain our identity in such an overbearing society?
As Daniel shows us, the key to maintaining our identity in the midst of temptation is to focus on God, not on our circumstances. We need always to remember that our identity comes from who God says we are -- His child in Christ. If we have accepted Christ as our Savior, then we are in a right standing with God.
We know that through Jesus we are righteous -- we did not earn our own salvation. We know that we are forgiven and can live each day with a clean slate. We know we have eternal life, and no matter what trials we face, they cannot take away our home in heaven. We know that within us lives the Holy Spirit who guides us through the most challenging circumstances. We know that we are loved by God and are forever a part of His Kingdom.
Prayer: Father, I thank You that I am Your child and forever a part of Your Kingdom. Help me to remember that and to stay focused on You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:19-20).
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