In the refrain of the song “Standing By a Purpose True,” the author (Philip Bliss) sings, “Dare to be a Daniel!” In fact, the desire to be a Daniel is a necessity in the life of every heaven-bound Christian. But in desiring to be a Daniel, there is the need to address the question, ‘How?” That is, How can one learn to be a Daniel in his or her own sphere? In an attempt to answer, this article unveils one major principle in the life of Daniel as seen in Daniel 1:8.

Daniel had a strong desire

In Daniel 1:8, we read of Daniel’s strong desire to not consume any food that would defile him, even if the food comes from the kings table: “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank.”  Many Christians, like Daniel, also have strong desires for many good things. For example, a happy marriage, good children, spiritual growth, etc. But the question is, Is it enough to simply have a strong and sincere desire for something good?

Daniel coupled his desire with an action

In the same verse (Dan. 1:8), Daniel is seen to have consummated his strong desire with action. “Therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” In the following verses (9-16), we witness the positive results of Daniel’s move. Imagine Daniel only desiring not to eat from the king’s provisions without making any arrangement with the prince of the eunuchs? Just his desire, no matter how strong and true, in no way would have yielded any positive results. He and his three friends would have just died of hunger before the end of the three years of study. Had they even managed to live, they might have been found feeble in contrast with their colleagues.

Daring to be a Daniel

Daniel was truly a man of action. He always accentuated his strong desires with effort (see Dan. 2:13-16, 17-18; 9:1-4). To be a Daniel, one needs to always let his or her good desires materialize into corresponding actions.  According to Ellen White, “a supposed hope, and nothing more” (Steps to Christ, 35) yields no positive results. In the subject of consecrating oneself to God, she further states that “desire for goodness and holiness are right as far as they go; but if you (one) stops here, they will avail nothing” (Ibid. p.47) emphasis added).                           

Hence couples who desire a happy marriage should ensure that husbands love their wives while wives submit to their husbands (Col. 3:18, 19). Likewise parents who strongly desire good children should learn to train their children in the way of the Lord (Prov. 22:6). And all who desire to grow spiritually should develop interest in Bible study, prayer, witnessing, and godly behavior (Eph. 6:10-18).

In the example given by Daniel, among others (see James 2:14, 17; 2:27, Matt. 26:4), it is evident that before any Christian can excel in his or her Christian life ( i.e. being a Daniel), he or she needs to always support his or her desires with deeds.  Such conduct, of course, is only possible through the supernatural power experienced through conversion and sanctification.  But while God gives all the power needed for success in such endeavors, it is the Christian’s responsibility to work out what God works in (Phil. 2:12-13; Col. 1:29).  Thus Ellen White declares, regarding Daniel and his friends:

While God was working in Daniel and his companions “to will and to do of His good pleasure,” they were working out their own salvation.  Philippians 2:13.  Herein is revealed the outworking of the divine principle of cooperation, without which no true success can be attained.  Human effort avails nothing without divine power; and without human endeavor, divine effort is with many of no avail.  To make God’s grace our own, we must act our part.  His grace is given to work in us to will and to do, but never as a substitute for our effort (Prophets and Kings, pp. 486-487).

I thus appeal to you dear reader, dare to be a Daniel.

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Francis Owusu-Bahanene is a Young Ghanaian Entrepreneur and a Cofounder of ROBROP Foundation. Currently, he serves as the Managing Director of Fobbaket Enterprise and as the Youth Director of the South Ridge Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Sunyani, Brong Ahafo.