Focal Passage: Daniel 1:1-21
“Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” That is how the New King James version of the Bible translates the first part of Daniel 1:8.
A careful study of the words translated “purposed in his heart” will lead to something akin to “setting one’s mind” to doing something, but I think this is more.
Daniel decided in his heart to follow God. It wasn’t an intellectual realization, though the decision seems well thought out.
It was not a rational conclusion, though everything about it seems logical.
It wasn’t a head thing, it was a heart thing.
Jesus made reference to this kind of purposing of the heart.
When preaching the Sermon on the Mount, He told His listeners that where their riches were, their hearts would be there also. When you make something the purpose of your heart it becomes your treasure.
In a strictly clinical or anatomical sense, the purpose of the heart is to pump blood. The heart pumps blood to all our vital organs. On the web site for the Franklin Institute, a non-profit organization for science and education, the following is said of the human heart:
“In an average lifetime, the heart beats more than two and a half billion times, without ever pausing to rest. Like a pumping machine, the heart provides the power needed for life. This life-sustaining power has, throughout time, caused an air of mystery to surround the heart. Modern technology has removed much of the mystery, but there is still an air of fascination and curiosity.”
Our hearts have life-sustaining power, this we know. But what happens when we turn the purpose of our hearts, in a less anatomical way, to being like God?
Daniel was called to make a stand and he purposed his heart to that very goal. God was the treasure of his heart and so the stand was an easy one to make. He was willing to clearly identify himself as a child of God because Daniel’s heart was in the mission.
When we decide with our heads to follow God, will our hearts be in it?