Ravi Zacharias – What does a person of influence look like

RaviDaniel, as he stood before Nebuchadnezzar and the nation of Babylon, as the challenge was given to them to be remolded and reshaped. Take a notice of what happened. These men were in exile, and all of a sudden, the highest man in the land is asking for the best of these young men to be selected: strong in their countenance, impressive in their personality, and what was it that was going to take place? They were to be reprogrammed and a new set of values planted within them. They were to be taught the philosophy, the literature, and the language of the babylonians. Philosophy- the way they reason, literature through the back door of the imagination, and the entire change of culture could begin, once that language was handed to them. Philosophy, literature and language to help these men rethink all that there was to be challenging them within this new culture, so that a new set of values would be born into them, and then transferred through them to the next generation.

Daniel 1:8-10; 17

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. Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”

17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. 18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. 21 And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.

  • We move towards the direction of our comfort. We do. But the important thing is how God reminds us never to get so comfortable with comforts, that it is the comfort principle that ends up driving all that you do. Here is a man who trained his appetite, training his longings, training his hunger. And the marvelous thing is this: how he reminded himself again, and again, that he did not want to get spoiled by all that the king would afford to him and give to him. Instead, he disciplined himself and backed away from even that which could have been alright for him to enjoy, but he resisted it for a greater and a higher call.

(1) Daniel drew his line of resistance by training his hunger & appetite

I wanna talk to you a little bit about training your hunger. The truth of the matter is that we make small decisions in the early days of our lives that often can put some deep desired within us that are not good for the long run. Can we put paper cuts to our soul, early in life (which is all it takes for someone to contract a termini virus from someone else), can we entertain a habit, can we begin a relationship, can we make a choice, could it be one evening that lacerates you in such a way, that puts a different kind of hunger into you, and the destruction process can set in? To you, young men especially I want to give you this challenge. There are people out there, with businesses, and productions, and ideas, whose soul purpose is to cut you in your soul, and get you hooked and reprogrammed so that you will then have hungers and passions and desires that no one human being on the face of the earth can ever fulfill. All they end up doing is framing your mind and creating within you a kind of imagination that is ultimately insatiable- never, ever satisfying. In this day of mass communicating with computers, we’re living with a great deal of danger  for our young people. I remember talking about this at a seminary in midwestern Canada, I just mentioned this whole scourge of the pornographic empire, and at the end, when the invitation for prayer was given, every aisle was filled with kneeling men, tears running down their faces, wanting to retrain their hungers.

  • My daughter, Naomi, works in the rescue of trafficked women and children from the prostitution industry. She’s been pleasing for me to write a book with her on pornography. She said, „Dad, if I could only tell you the devastation this thing wreaks. And I have fought it off, because I hate to even get into the research of something like this. Draw the line in the right places, so that you can train your hungers. (17:00)

(2) Daniel’s  line of dependance on God for  wisdom 

But he also drew his line of dependence. What is dependence? To go beyond the reading, to go beyond the learning- to seek wisdom. Nebuchadnezzar did an extraordinary thing dream and it was a culture in which dreams meant an awful lot. And this repeated dream of a statue with a head and shoulders of gold, the breastplate of silver, the girth made of bronze, the legs made of iron and the feet made of a mixture of iron and clay. And a stone, cut out of no man’s hand smashes that statue. And he wants to know what this means. So the magicians and the enchanters asked Nebuchadnezzar of his dream, but he said, „You tell me the dream if you’re that capable, and then you interpret it.”  So, Daniel comes on the scene and God reveals the dream to him. Daniel goes to Nebuchadnezzar and tells him, „That which I am about to tell you has nothing to do with my learning, or my education. It has nothing to do with my intellect. It has everything to do with God’s wisdom. And now I will unfold to you your dream.”You can only learn so much from books and education. Ultimately, that which will carry you through will be the wisdom of God in the toughest situations of life.

The line of dependence.  Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection, at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of  life.

(3) Daniel’s line of confidence

His line of resistance, his line of dependence, his line of confidence. Daniel knew that ultimately  the truth would triumph and 3 monarchs in a row crossed over to his side, he never crossed over to theirs. That’s remarkable. That’s a reflection of a soul that God intends for you and me: To draw the line in the right places, to be shaped for his purpose, to be able to stand before the toughest adversaries and to see that the difference will ultimately count.

(VIDEO 30 min)

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