“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.” – Daniel 1:8 (ESV)
Daniel had determined in his mind he would not defile himself, so he took action and asked for a healthier substitute. He didn’t forsake food all together. He didn’t go on a hunger strike. He sought out to glorify God by keeping to God’s commanded dietary laws. God granted favor to Daniel because of Daniels unrelenting determination to honor Him by keeping His commandments. I wonder what would of happened had Daniel practiced what so many Christians practice when it comes to remaining pure before the Lord. I wonder if Daniel had practiced the passive avoidance if he would have failed like so many do day in and day out. I know that this practice has not worked for me. In my battles against lust, I have always been determined not to defile myself. However, I would fail. The temptation would become too great and I would give in. I had not learned Daniel’s technique. I had not learned that in order to remain undefiled, I must be filling myself with something.
I believe that humanity was made to crave beauty, to seek after beauty, to be inspired by beauty. The problem lies in where we seek out this beauty. The beauty the world has to offer is fleeting and shallow, yet fatally addictive. As a Christian, I knew that to seek out this beauty is sin. Therefore, I would avoid it all cost. However, I would not feed my soul. I went on a beauty strike. I had wrongly determined that my desire to seek out beauty was wrong as well and that I must suppress it and then my battles with lust would subside. So I consumed no beauty. My soul would gasp and writhe and eventually the pangs would grow too strong and I would give in to lust because it was instantaneous, even though I knew it to be fleeting. What Daniel understood and I did not was that my hunger for beauty was not and is not sinful. It is essential to fight the very thing I hate. Daniel understood that if we are to remain undefiled, we are to not only say no to temptation, but we are also say yes to the things of God. We are to forcefully and violently, if necessary, seek after that which is of God. If Daniel had approached not defiling himself like I had, he would found himself in the same boat, eventually giving in and eating the king’s food, out of starvation.
There are too many men in the church (and I used to be one of them) who only passively avoid evil. They pray that their God-given desires to be consumed by beauty and passion would magically disappear, that they somehow be spiritually castrated, so that they no longer desire anything, but be numb, passionless and pure; because that’s what they think God demands. They think He demands passionless, joyless obedience and if killing off the desires in order that we achieve that, so be it. Friends, this is not so. God does demand obedience, but He demands obedience that is joy-filled and full of emotion. We must be aware that our desire to know and chase after beauty was instilled in our souls by God Himself, so that we might know and chase after Him, the one True Beauty.
That is the key to fighting lust, or any other sin. I believe at the heart of sin is the desire to find beauty in things that are not God. So, if we not only avoid the sin, but we then feed our souls the five-star meal of God, we can remain undefiled. We must feed this raging craving in our souls for beauty, but not with the shallow and fleeting beauty the world offers, but with the only True Beauty and that is found in the person of Jesus Christ. His crucified image is beautiful to the Christian soul. His bloodied body is a marvelous wonder to ponder. It is the key to our continued determination and our continued purity. Fill your soul on Christ and you will never be let down. The beauty of the cross is the only truly satisfying images available. Satisfy your soul cravings on Him and His glory shines even brighter.
Perhaps you are saying to yourself, “but I’ve already defiled myself, is there any hope for me?” YES! That’s one of the marvelous affects of the Cross. Defiled, dirty, sinful people are counted righteous, if they call on the name of Jesus. Call out to Him and regain your purity that was lost long ago. The Cross is the means by which receive justification before God (a clean slate) and it also the means by which we receive sanctification (keeping our slate clean). God is the means for all things and we are just recipients of grace. It is God who supplies, so that none can boast or be owed by God. It is God who grants an undefiled life. Pray earnestly to receive it. Remember, James, the brother of Jesus said that we have not because we ask not. Pray for purity…perhaps God ordained that your purity come through asking for it.
Determined to be Undefiled