Often we think we need to make a stand for everything we believe in. If not, how do we look different from those around us?

The problem is, challenging the whole kit and caboodle that doesn’t fit with our beliefs can make life annoying for those around us.

There is a different way to act or react that makes us noticeable as being wise.

One lesson stuck in my mind from a mother’s program I attended at our church. I’ve applied it to my parenting, but we can apply it to all aspects of life, including where we work or study.

Choose your battles carefully. Decide on one or two matters that are important and do it with integrity.

That is: Choose what you go to the wall for. In other words, don’t pick a battle over every little and big thing.

With my children, I knew if I corrected them on all the behaviors I didn’t like, eventually they may get so frustrated they would not listen to me when it was really important.

We think if we relent on one thing then we will lose the fight on everything else.

It’s the same when we find ourselves in situations at work or college which contradict our beliefs. We believe we have to make a point because if not, people will not take our faith seriously, or it looks like we’re not staying true to what we believe.

When we look at Daniel, though, we discover he made a fuss about very little, and even then it wasn’t a protest, or a battle, or an argument.

Daniel, it appears, applied the same motto.  Choose what you go to the wall for.

One thing Daniel could have complained about was his name. Daniel was given the name of a Babylonian god. In doing so, this imposed at least a subtle level of acknowledgment of the Babylonians gods on Daniel and his friends. In a sense, every time Daniel told people his new name, referred to himself as Belteshazzar, or allowed his friends to call him by that name, he was in a way accepting this foreign god.

Daniel could have refused to acknowledge his new name when his friends or Babylonian colleagues spoke to him. He could have refused to call himself by that name. We’re not told he objected to it.

However, Daniel went to the wall for one thing only and that was eating food from the king’s table.

There are many reasons put forward why Daniel refused the food. Perhaps it was to avoid eating meat, or too many rich foods. Or it could have been the food had not been prepared following the Jewish laws.

Most likely, Daniel determined not to eat the food or wine because it had likely been offered to the Babylonian gods and he did not want to indirectly look like he was worshiping these idols.

Daniel resolved to stay true to the one living God.

By exercising a choice over what to go to the wall for, Daniel and his friends didn’t upset everything in the royal court or the people around them.

Resolve doesn’t look like being stubborn about everything contrary to what you believe.

Standing up for what you believe sometimes means standing down.

Choose your battles carefully. Decide on one or two matters that are important—you know that gut feeling you get about something—and do it with integrity.

If you are in a job or situation at college where your beliefs are challenged left right and center. Don’t go all out for every single thing—trying to make a point at every turn. Instead, decide on one or two matters that stir your heart.

Then you will stand out for your wisdom.

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Linking up with Crystal Storms at #HeartEncouragement, with Susan B. Mead at #DanceWithJesus, with Arabah Joy at Grace & Truth, with Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup, with Holley Gerth at #HeartEncouragement

  • Rachel, this is really wise advice and Daniel’s example is something to remember when faced with so many situations we run across in life. Thank you!

  • So much wisdom in this! I love this reminder. Do the things God calls us to do. Fight those battles. He may have someone else that needs to stand in another situation and when we take it over they may not have the chance. Wisdom is the key.

    And you’re so right….it does get annoying to people when we constantly battle. I’m sure Jesus saw plenty of things He wanted to right, but He did the things the Father called Him to. That’s a wise example 🙂

  • Good morning, neighbor! Thanks for gentle reminder to choose our battles, to purpose in our hearts what’s worth going to the mat for.

    We only have so much energy to go around each day … may it be for God’s purposes in our lives, in this season.

  • I really like this post; especially this right here: Standing up for what you believe sometimes means standing down. Daniel was a great example to use for this principle. Thank you for sharing. Stopping by from Grace and Truth Link Up.

  • So true. I just had a discussion last night with my teenage son about choosing his battles. He disagrees with one of his teachers, and we agreed that the current classroom battle isn’t worth a fight. Thank you for the Daniel example…I will use this next time we talk.

  • I too, try to pick my battles. Just the other day, I let go of something that was totally a wrong against me, and it was not a small thing. I knew if I kept defending myself from an obvious lie, the devil would keep making me look guilty. God always knows the truth, I like your phrase, standing down to stand up.

  • Great advice. Daniel didn’t make a fuss about praying either. He just quietly went to his room, faced Jerusalem, and prayed, despite the order from the king. His quiet obedience to God seemed to get him into the worst kind of trouble, but instead, his witness changed hearts. Thanks for the reminder that I need to be more like Daniel.

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