A couple of days ago, after finishing my Bible study of the book of Ephesians, I decided to continue with the book of Daniel.
In its opening pages, Daniel’s story teaches us important things about staying true to ourselves.
Staying true to our own principles, beliefs, values, and priorities.
After the king of Babylon conquered the kingdom of Judah, Daniel was taken captive to Babylon along with his friends.
Since Daniel and his friends belonged to Jewish noble families, and were young men endowed with many skills, they were selected for Babylonian training and to become advisers to the king.
Among other things, this training was concerned with converting these young people into Babylonians, indoctrinating them to leave their Jewish identity behind and adopt the religion, culture, customs, beliefs, and ways of the empire.
They would also receive academic, astronomical, astrological education, in general science and magic of the time.
Daniel, considering his future and his identity, did not resist those elements, since, for him, they were negotiable.
However, there were a couple of cases in which Daniel was not willing to follow the demands made from him since this went against his principles and his identity.
Daniel stayed true to himself.
I would like to invite you to read with me a short verse from the Bible that introduces us to the first of these cases.
But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.
| Daniel 1: 8
In this part of the story, Daniel was commanded to consume food and drink that had been sacrificed and offered to idols.
Foods that contained meats considered unclean according to what was declared by God in the book of Leviticus.
Consuming them would mean for Daniel to be defiled and to renounce a part of his identity.
Doing so would make him go against God’s will and precepts.
For this, despite the fact that in other non-fundamental areas he was willing to give in, he refused to eat them.
Here we can see that Daniel’s attitude teaches us something important about being true to ourselves.
We all have our own identity, a set of beliefs, principles, and experiences that make us who we are.
One of the things that I have been learning more and more lately, is to know myself and to know who I am.
That helps me not to betray myself and live in coherence with my values, principles, priorities, and beliefs.
Like Daniel, we have an identity and a conscience.
To stay true to ourselves, we first need to know who we are and then listen when our conscience speaks to us.
When our inner voice tells us that what we are about to do, or what we are doing, is not consistent with what we consider good or appropriate, we must listen and stop.
When our conscience tells us that what we are doing is against God’s will and precepts, we are evidently betraying ourselves.
The result of betraying our own identity is chaos.
We will never be happy or faithful to God if we decide to negotiate our principles to please others.
There are very clear lines that are demarcated in our consciousness that we should not allow ourselves to cross.
If we betray ourselves, then we have no one to trust.
We ourselves become our enemy.
The result of not being true to ourselves is the gradual creation of a life that gives itself to what hurts it.
A life that distances us from God and from what is best for us.
What do you think? Are you having trouble staying true to yourself? What is your experience? Share in the comments.
A hug, God bless you.