There is not only the danger of loving the world, there is also the danger of becoming like the world. Paul writes to the Christians in Rome, “Be not conformed to this world, but he ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and perfect and acceptable will of God” (Rom 12:2). The idea expressed here is that we not “become” like, or conform to, the world.
The word, “conformed, is found a number of times in the New Testament. Romans 8:29 says we have been predestinated “to he conformed to the image of His Son.” In the book of Philippians, Paul speaks of being made “comformable unto his death” (Phil 3:10). In these instances, it is the Spirit of God, working within, who effects the change in the believer. In Romans 8, however, we are told that the world is also at work to change Christians by pressing them into its mold.
In Daniel 1, we read of a number of young people who were carried away captive into the land of Babylon. It is interesting to notice that these were referred to as “children of the Kings seed” (vs 3). It is in this chapter, that we learn of the intent of the king of Babylon regarding these young people: namely, that they might teach them the learning and tongue of the Chaldeans (vs 4). The “learning of the Chaldeans would have to do with their “laws,” while the “tongue” of the Chaldeans would have to do with their “language.” In other words, the King of Babylon sought to change every thing about these young people, so that they would become more like the Chaldeans around them.
Babylon is a picture of this world, and what we find in Daniel 1, is a picture of what the world wants to do with the child of God. As “children of the Kings seed” living in a foreign land, the child of God faces ever-increasing pressure to be “conformed to this world.”
The first thing that Babylon sought to change in the lives of those young people was their “diet.” They would be “nourished” with a daily provision of the Kings meat and wine (vs 5). But to eat this diet would Dishonor God and his laws, and would be “defiling” to them. In contrast, Pauls desire for Timothy, was that he would be “nourished up in the words of faith and good doctrine” (I Tim 4:6). How good it is to read of Daniel, who, “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself,” with the things of Babylon.
The second thing that Babylon changed was the names of these young people (vs 7). The names of Daniel and his three young friends had special significance with regard to their relationship with their God. Their names were distinct, and served to distinguish them from the ungodly world around them. But Babylon was determined to change all of that.
You and I, as “children of the kings seed,” have been given the name “Christian.” This distinguishes us from the world. Let us seek to live our lives so that the “name of God and his doctrine he not blasphemed” (I Tim 6:1). James refers to the Christian name as that “worthy name by which ye are called” (James 2:7). Paul writes to Timothy, “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Tim 2:19). May the Lord help us to recognize the attempts of the world to change our name. “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach” (Heb 13:13).