By Jordan West

CLEVELAND, Ga (TMNews) – Thomas Hammond, lead pastor at Alpharetta First Baptist Church in Alpharetta, Ga., joined Truett-McConnell to share a message encouraging students to live a pure life and to serve God faithfully at the weekly chapel service on February 4.

The devotion of Daniel

Hammond began with reading the story in Daniel 1, when King Nebuchadnezzar instructed Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego to eat the king’s delicacies. Daniel and his friends chose to obey God, and requested to only eat vegetables and water. In doing this, they took a stand, and God rewarded their faithfulness as He prepared their hearts for bigger battles.

Hammond encouraged, “There is far more than needed to change the world sitting in this room right now. There is nothing the world gives us that makes our lives better.”

He continued, “There must be a purposing, dedication, devotion in your heart, when you decide you are not going to do certain things or live in a certain way. Daniel decided he would not defile himself in the way the king asked.”

Hammond said, “This purity allowed Daniel to be the one that God would use to bring forth His desires and will and plan.”

Purity in a dark worldHe explained, “There’s something powerful about purity, especially in our world today. If you want to be different, if you want to stand out in the crowd, try this: purity. Be pure! Be pure in every aspect of your life and I can promise that you will stand out in a crowd.”

Hammond questioned, “Have you made that determination? Have you said, ‘God, I want to live for You. I want to be holy and pure and righteous, for the purpose of what? That your Holy Spirit might flow into me and through me – that others might see You in me, and that I might be light for those who are in darkness.’”

He added, “So I promise, when you make that determination, you will experience some conflict.”

He used a comparison, and said, “A dead fish can swim downstream, but it takes a fish that’s alive to swim against the current. If you want to change this culture, you’ve got to be alive in Christ.”

Hammond arrived at this explanation: “Here’s the reality – the world thinks the world’s ways are better, and let me tell you why. They haven’t seen a Christian living their faith out with boldness and humility and love.”

Steps to living a holy life

Hammond highlighted three points for a believer seeking to live a pure life for Christ. He began by saying, “You must have a determination to live a life of purity. The Holy Spirit doesn’t flow through unclean vessels, and the only way that you’re going to live a Christian life is through the Holy Spirit’s empowerment.”

He went on to his second point, and said, “There’s got to be a willingness to put it all on the line. If you have any hesitancy, any holdback, if you value anything in this world beyond serving the Lord, I can promise you this – you’ll find yourself gravitating to live for that and not God. You’ll find yourself hesitant about putting yourself on the line.”

Again he referenced the Bible story: “Daniel valued God’s ways over the world’s ways so much that he was willing to put it all on the line.”

Hammond reminded the congregation what Daniel is most remembered for: his faithfulness to God as he was thrown into the lion’s den. He said, “Daniel chapter 1 is preparation for the lion’s den. It is a young teenage boy being faithful to God and God teaching him, ‘I am faithful; I am sovereign; I am the Almighty. You live for me and no matter what the circumstances, I am with you.’”

He added, “God didn’t start Daniel out in the lion’s den, God started Daniel out with this test of his diet. When Daniel had this purposing in his heart that he wasn’t going to defile himself, it taught him that God was faithful. When the lion’s den came, it just wasn’t that big of a deal.”

Hammond’s final point was in regards to the people believers choose as friends. He said, “We have to surround ourselves with a core of friends that lift us up and don’t tear us down.”

Confidence in God’s faithfulness

In conclusion, he told the students, “The decisions you make now impact your life now, but not just now. God has lessons for you to learn now for the things that He’s preparing you for later. If you miss these moments of learning and development and strengthening and growth, when are you going to experience them?”

He said, “In the army of God, you will say ‘I’ll step up. I know my God is faithful, because I’ve stepped up before, and my God has been faithful.’”


Jordan is a senior English major and is an intern for the Communications Department.

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