It’s been over fifty years now since my grandmother told me Bible stories from the book of Daniel. After my grandfather passed away, she lived with us for a while in the lower level of our split-level house just outside of Tyson’s Corner, VA.
You have probably heard of “Daniel and the Lion’s Den.” Or the story of the three Hebrew guys who were put into a fiery furnace.
What you may be unfamiliar with is Daniel’s personal devotional life.
You can’t read the book of Daniel without noticing its impact on his life, and, ultimately, his influence on succeeding generations.
It not only impacted Jews in the second century who were being severely persecuted, but also my grandmother in the 20th century, and now me.
What was the secret to Daniel’s ultimate influence?
His personal devotional life. It is the KEY to his life and his influence. (Daniel 6:10; 9:20ff)
Now, Bible reading and prayer usually top the list of things discussed every New Year. You don’t know what the new year holds, and you want to have a good one.
But Daniel wasn’t focused on just the current year. He kept his mind and heart eternally focused.
As a teenager he was ripped from his home by a foreign army, the Babylonians. But that didn’t cause him to throw in the towel and try something new the next year. He stayed committed to prayer and the Scriptures even under threat of death.
As the book unfolds you notice his influence, his stability; and it is all influenced by his personal devotional life.
Sure, as we begin a New Year there are always headlines like “Have the Best Year Ever,” “Reach Your Goals in the New Year,” “15 Ways to …,” and “The Do’s and Don’t of Getting Leaner.”
And no doubt many of those are helpful.
But what about thinking beyond this year, or even beyond the next decade?
In a sense I am asking you to make a New Year’s Resolution, but not for this year.
A resolution is simply something you resolve to do.
When Joshua challenged the people to “Choose this day whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24:15), he didn’t say “…for this coming year, and see how it works out.” He challenged them to make a resolution that would give their lives purpose for generations to come.
Daniel himself purposed in his heart a course of action (Daniel 1:8), and it impacted his life along with countless others.
He influenced his coworkers.
He influenced his friends.
He influenced my grandmother.
He has influenced me.
That’s what I call Ultimate Influence.
And the KEY was his personal devotional life.
What will be the KEY in your life?