…by Beka Jackson
I loved hearing the story of Daniel this past Sunday. I am a history nut so the stories in the Old Testament are always exciting to me. My favorite part of the message, though, was all the practical how-to-live-like-this-now stuff.
Even though I love history, I sometimes have a hard time drawing parallels between what I read and what I experience or do now. That wasn’t at all the case this past week. Seems crazy though, doesn’t it? I am a 35 year-old free American wife and mother of five young kids. Daniel was a teenager/young adult Israelite held captive by hostile Babylon. Yet, from his life, I can learn to live my life in a way that serves and pleases God more.
My favorite take-away from Daniel’s story? Don’t be defined by what you are against. This has been the biggest lesson I have learned in my life so far. Well-intentioned adults had trained me to be uncomfortable with sin. When someone around me was doing something I knew as sinful, I was taught to get angry. That translated to my friends as judgment. I grew up thinking that people who did bad things were bad people and I should be mad at them.
Sometime during college I began to realize that faith lived out in real time was something I had never considered. Faith to me meant going to church, not trick or treating, removing any bit of Santa Clause from Christmas, taking communion and knowing how to read a Bible (not necessarily reading it.) A relationship with Christ and the idea of an integral life of faith was never even an idea I considered. Then sometime in college, it was like a light bulb went on when I realized that what I believed dictated how I lived. And even more than that, the same was true about every other person. What they believed dictated how they lived. If I am living a certain way because of my knowledge of and faith in God and others had little knowledge of or faith in God, why in the world would they live the way I did?!
So I had a choice. I could live my life being very clear about what I was against or I could live my life being very clear about what I was for. I chose to be very clear about love, forgiveness, grace and truth. I pray that people know me as the one who loves rather than the one who condemns.