Holy Habits Under Pressure
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
Some years ago a major research firm conducted a survey to determine what people would be willing to do for ten million dollars. The results were astounding:
3 percent would put their children up for adoption
7 percent would kill a stranger
16 percent would divorce their spouses
25 percent would leave their families
We all apparently have our selling price. It might be ten million dollars or only a bottle of wine. Our selling price is linked to our identity; the deeper our character, the higher our selling price.
Daniel was a foreigner in a strange land, and there were many officials who wished to define his identity for him. Yet he tenaciously clung to the rituals that helped define his truest self as a child of God. Daniel would not sell himself short, even when the pressure was on. He continued to get down on his knees three times a day, giving thanks to God, even when he knew the penalty for doing so was being torn apart by hungry lions. He knew that without God he was nothing.
When a ship is built, each part has a voice of its own. As seamen walk through the new ship, they can almost hear the creaking whispers: “I am a rivet!” “I am a sheet of steel!” “I am a propeller!” “I am a beam!” For a while these little voices sing their individual songs, proudly independent and fiercely self-protective.
But then a storm blows in on the high seas. The waves toss, the gales hurl and the rains beat. If the parts of the ship tried to withstand the pummeling independent from one another, each would be lost. On the bridge, however, stands the captain. He issues orders that take all of the little voices and bring them together for a larger purpose. By the time the vessel has weathered the storm, sailors sense a new and deeper song echoing from stem to stern: “I am a ship!”
Our Captain calls each of us, especially in marriage, to a greater purpose than furthering ourselves. Answering that call is a top priority for our lives, as Daniel knew. Those who hear the Captain’s call are able to sail true and straight. And those who have that strong sense of service and self-awareness are able to give out of that fullness to the Lord and to others.
- What kind of home life might have created in Daniel the strength of character he displayed for a lifetime, even in adverse conditions?
- What habits of faith and its expressions are routine and meaningless in our lives? Which ritual practices do we do mainly for others?
- What habits might be good to develop to grow our relationship?