In order to become people of influence, leadership, and excellence, we must begin living in a consecrated way in our everyday lives. Every human being is looking for what makes them unique, and as believers, we are continually seeking how to function in our God-given identities. We want to be influencers on the job. We want to be authentic in the hallways in our places of education. We want to see Christ move in our families. “Living consecrated”, like every aspect of the Sermon on the Mount, is an individual choice and a God-given gift. At The Daniel Academy (TDA), we are setting up an atmosphere conducive for students to live radically for Jesus. The value of consecrated living is central to who we are as a school and community.
In Daniel 1:8, we see Daniel purposing in his heart to live radically. He gave up some legitimate delicacies of the day in order to know God. Throughout his 80+ years, we see Daniel living in a consecrated way in the midst of a profoundly dark culture. He not only gave up certain pleasures for short periods of time, but every day of his life! For decades, Daniel gave himself to 3x a day prayer and invited God to be with him in the midst of every day life. The result of Daniel purposing his heart was that he was given a spirit of excellence. Daniel 1:20 says,
“…and in all manners of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in his realm.”
What does living a consecrated life look like?
For the modern teenager, living in a consecrated way might mean giving up delicacies, but for most, it is a lesson in numbering their days and managing their time. Many of our students have voluntarily called one another to “media fasts”, where they give up social media for specific periods of time in order to pray and worship together. These young adults have an understanding that fasting is less about “giving stuff up” and is more about feasting on the pleasures of knowing God. In their early years, many young people are tithing their teenage years to the Lord in order to understand His heart and see Him move. Students at TDA are taught early on that when we know God, it propels us in other areas of our lives (career, family, sports, etc.).
Daniel 11:32 says, “…Those who know their God shall be strong and do exploits.”
From day one, we give students permission to love Jesus with fully abandoned hearts. Even young kindergarteners are taught how to enjoy spending time with Christ. Learning to willingly love Christ and enjoy His presence, is what takes us from legalism to holiness. The overflow of the heart in many young people today is to down-size the “stuff” and focus on knowing Christ Jesus as our firm foundation. Young people living this way is often uncommon, but when given permission to live radically, many students desire this of their own accord. They want to chase after God. They want to KNOW Him. They want to go farther in their walk with Jesus, but need to be surrounded in an atmosphere that not only encourages it, but helps them learn to cultivate it.
“Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12
The Overflow of Consecrated Living
In the early life of Daniel we see him walking in favor in everything he does. In fact, he was often found to be 10x better than others in the Babylonian kingdom, simply because he gave himself to purposed and consecrated living (Dan. 1:17). Because of his excellent external performance (The Spirit of Excellence), Daniel was a living testimony. His physical actions in the classroom and on the job reflected the spirit of God and were a witness to his peers and leaders.
For the modern teenager, the testimony of consecrated living is no less important. Just imagine if we started becoming standard setters in industry, education, and business. Picture what would happen if our academic testing scores were 10x higher than the average school, simply because we lived purposefully. Imagine what would happen in the marketplace if students left high school and university and performed 10x greater on the job than all of their co-workers. These are the very things we are praying for – to live lives that testify of the Kingdom of Heaven. The reality happens when we teach students that they are “tomorrow’s leaders – today”.
No matter where we go, we are living examples of Christ. We are called to represent the fruit of the spirit both in the church pews and in the hallways of shopping malls. According to the Apostle Paul, we are the fragrance of Christ – walking testimonies.
“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved…” – 2nd Corinthians 2:15
The testimony of consecrated living goes far beyond the classroom. For believers, we see standards of excellence enhanced by prayer in the context of mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of life (Daniel 1:17, 2, 4, 6). Young Daniel lived in a consecrated way when he was studying, working in the fields of Babylon, doing his apprenticeship work, spending time with friends, and when walking the streets of the city. Through Daniel, God released the fragrant aroma that testified of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Why wait until we are adults to start living with purposed and consecrated hearts? Imagine what happens when students begin living radically in kindergarten. That is something worth investing in and a community worth being a part of.