A Purpose-Filled Heart
June 4, 2023

A Christian’s Heart

“A Purpose-Filled Heart”

Watch on YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNdpjm14DK4

The year is 605 B.C. and Jerusalem has just been taken by the Babylonian army, and Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, gave instructions to one of his top recruiters, Ashpenaz, master of his eunuchs, to bring the best and brightest young Jewish men to Babylon to be trained where they could be top advisors in Nebuchadnezzar’s court.

Daniel, along with three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were chosen with many others and deported to Babylon to train at the top college for Babylonian wise guys, the Chaldeans, who were the magicians and astrologers of that day.

Uprooted from his home and everything he knew; Daniel had every right to be discouraged. He was a captive in an unfriendly and foreign land, and to Daniel’s mind, the kingdom of darkness, a place where God was completely absent from people’s thoughts.

Ashpenaz immediately enrolled them in the College where everything was provided for their physical comfort. They were even given food that the king himself ate. This presented a problem to Daniel and his three friends. It was food that was forbidden by God’s law and thus made it unlawful to eat.

What would they do, to refuse was to insult the king and put them in potential danger, even the potential of losing their lives. But to partake would put them directly against God and His word.

A choice had to be made, and so it says that Daniel purposed in his heart, hence the title of today’s message, not to go against God’s word and defile himself with the king’s offerings.

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” (Daniel 1:8 NKJV)

Throughout this year we’ve been looking at a Christian’s heart, that is, those qualities that every Christian needs to possess. So far we’ve looked at how a Christian’s heart is a servant’s heart, a heart of courage and sacrifice. It is a heart filled with integrity, forgiveness, worship, commitment, grace, faith, hope, wisdom, not to mention being spirit filled.

Today we’ll be looking a Christian’s heart being filled with purpose, that is, a heart that is dedicated to God, His word, and His way. And in this study, we’ll not only be looking at the life of Daniel, but we’ll also look at what the Apostle Paul said about Jesus in his letter to the Philippian Church.

Paul said, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8 NKJV)

If this is the mindset that was in Jesus Christ, it therefore needs to be our mindset as well. But beyond this we’ll also look at what Jesus said that it takes to be fully devoted, or purposeful followers of His.

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23 NKJV)

Now, the first thing we see about Daniel and having a purpose-filled heart is that his was a sincere heart.

1.  A Sincere Heart

Daniel was young, and as it is with our children and youth, very impressionable. But Daniel learned God’s ways and word early on as a child, and so as a youth and forced between what was right and wrong, between what the world said he must do verses what the Lord said, Daniel chose God.

Even in his youth Daniel chose to follow God’s word thus keeping himself pure and undefiled, and the Lord rewarded him and his three friends with wisdom and knowledge well beyond their years.

In his book of Proverbs, Solomon said, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV)

Solomon says that we are to train up our children in the way they should go, that is, in the way of the Lord, and when they are old enough to choose for themselves what is right and wrong, they will know the difference andhopefully be strong enough to choose what is right, that is, they’ll choose God and His ways based upon His word, over that of the world and what society is trying to sell.

Let me just say that if we don’t teach our children to follow Christ, then the world will teach them not to.

To prove out that statement, just look at what’s being taught in our schools, especially in our colleges. They teach that God is dead, that there’s no such thing as God, and that the Bible is just a book, and an old one at that and has no relevance in today’s modern society.

But the Bible is more relevant than any textbook out there. The textbooks that our current educational system continue to teach our children from have to constantly be changed every couple of years, which means they weren’t true or accurate in the first place, and probably they are still wobbly when it comes to the truth. But the Bible has remained true and unchanged from its original manuscripts.

And all these leadership gurus out there who are churning out these books and seminars, charging big bucks in the process, are using and quoting the Bible even if they haven’t got a clue as to what it says or what it means.

Unfortunately, what happens is that after a while the world starts to make an impression upon us, especially our young ones and youth. It sounds good and rational, but when put to the test, these so-called truths are more often found defective in their formulation.

But for many it’s too late because the world, through its lies, has been conforming the masses more to its ways than we are allowing God to transform us into His image, and relaying its and His life changing message.

The Apostle Paul warns us not to allow this to happen.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2 NKJV)

The natural question is how does being transformed by the renewing of our minds relate to having our hearts changed?

The answer is that the mind is directed, not so much by outside forces, which is what the word “conformed” means, but rather the mind is being directed by the heart, which is the center of our being and who we are.

In Proverbs 23:7, Solomon brings this out saying that as a person thinks in their heart, that is who they truly are.

And Jesus puts the finishing touches on this reality saying that the heart and mind are connected.

He said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 NKJV)

This is the heart and mind link up the Apostle Paul brings out in his letter to the Philippian Church.

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5 NKJV)

You can’t have the mind of Christ until you have Jesus Christ in your heart.

And while many believe that some people speak without engaging their minds, the reality is that their minds are engaged with their hearts, and therefore what they’re speaking is what they truly believe.

In Jesus’s quintessential verse on what it means to be a disciple, He said, “If anyone desires to come after Me” (Luke 9:23a NKJV)

There must be a sincere desire on our part. What I’ve learned over the years is that discipleship doesn’t happen by osmosis. We don’t become a believer in Jesus Christ, raising our hand in a service to accept Him, and now think we’re fully operational. It doesn’t work like that.

Discipleship takes time and a sincere desire on our part. And when this is coupled with a commitment, that is when God’s purpose will become a reality. That is when we’ll have those purpose-filled hearts.

This brings me to the second thing we see about Daniel having a purpose-filled heart, and that is a purpose-filled heart is a committed heart.

2. A Committed Heart

Because Daniel purposed in His heart early on, he committed himself to God and His word throughout His life, even when faced with certain death.

Under Darius, the King of the Medes and Persians, Daniel became one of the highest officials in the land, but not without his critics and enemies. Seeing how the king preferred Daniel’s presence and wisdom even to the point of making him head over the entire realm, the other leaders became jealous and tried to find some wrong by which they could accuse him, but they couldn’t find anything worthy of death or dismissal.

So instead, they concocted a plan they knew wouldn’t fail. They would use Daniel’s faith in God against him. So, they went before King Darius and played to his ego saying no one should pray or petition any other god or man for 30 days except King Darius.

And their plan worked as Darius signed it into law. Daniel knew what this meant, but he had purposed in his heart from an early age to follow God and not man. He made the commitment long before this edit was signed and kept it in spite of the consequences. That commitment was his daily prayers to God with his window opened towards Jerusalem, which is something that everyone could see him doing

As a result, the king was forced, against his will, to toss Daniel into a den filled with hungry lions. But God met and protected Daniel from certain death, because Daniel had made that commitment and stuck to it.

Jesus knew as well that our making a commitment to Him also might mean potential physical death, but definitely it meant death to ourselves so that we can live for Him.

Look at what Jesus tells us as His disciples. “Take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23c NKJV)

To pick up one’s cross calls for a commitment because of what the cross stands for.

Taking up our cross isn’t about being inconvenienced in life, nor is it about carrying some burden. Rather it means certain death, in some cases physical death, but in every instance death of our own selfish wants and desires so we can live for God and the destiny He has for our lives.

In our first point we looked at our need to sincerely desire to follow God, but that must be coupled with a commitment if we want to be those fully devoted sold out followers Jesus calls us to be.

We see such a commitment and a committed heart in Jesus as the Apostle Paul points out in how Jesus was obedient to the Father’s will, even knowing that it meant His death, and that in the most agonizing way ever devised by humanity, and that is, the cross.

Jesus even asked the Father if there was any other way this could be accomplished, but ended by saying, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42 NKJV)

The Apostle Paul said that Jesus, “Became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8 NKJV)

One last aspect of a purpose-filled heart we see in Daniel is that it is a heart of self-denial.

3. A Heart of Self-Denial

If we are then sincere and committed to this process of discipleship, this leads to self-denial.

Daniel and his three friends denied themselves some of the benefits associated with their position so that they could keep true to God’s word. As a result, they distinguished themselves in appearance and wisdom from all the others in Babylon.

“In all matters 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 all his realm.” (Daniel 1:20 NKJV)

When we pick up our crosses and deny ourselves, that is, put to death those wants and desires that don’t line up with God’s word, then God will lift us up and we’ll be distinguished from all the philosophers, teachers, and professors that mock God’s word as they spout just about everything under the sun.

It was a heart of self-denial that Jesus said his disciples, that is, you and I must possess as well.

“Let him deny himself.” (Luke 9:23b NKJV)

The problem is that our understanding of what it means to deny ourselves is a little skewed. In the Greek the word “deny” means to give up something or have no connection with it. It means that we are to stay clear of anything that goes against God and His word and that takes us away from His plans and purposes.

Unfortunately, we’ve developed this convoluted idea that we have to be some sort of monks living in a monastery, or in some remote cave giving up all worldly possessions.

Instead, to deny ourselves is where every day we purpose in our hearts to become a little bit more like Jesus. To live our lives in such a way that every day we are changing more and more into His image and according to His likeness.

It’s being more Christ-like in the way we deal with others, especially with our families, friends, and those we work with.

There is a phrase and a prayer that I teach that will help us become more like Christ. The phrase is, “What Would Jesus Do,” and the prayer is, “Lord Change Me.”

When we start asking that question coupled with praying that prayer, then we’ll start achieving our goal of denying ourselves by becoming a little bit more like Jesus Christ.

And finally, we see this same sort of heart of self-denial on the part of Jesus in Paul’s revelation of the type of followers we need to be seeing what Jesus did for us.

“But (Jesus) made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7 NKJV)

As God, Jesus humbled Himself and came in the form of a human being, but not just any human being, a bondservant.

A bondservant is someone who voluntarily gives up his or her right to be free in order to be a servant of someone they consider worthy of serving as their master and lord.

Here Paul tells us that Jesus voluntarily left his place and throne in heaven to come down to this earth to become not only one of us, but a servant, but not a servant of man, but a servant of His Heavenly Father.

Jesus’s servanthood and service is seen in its ultimate display as Jesus took up a towel and washbowl and began to wash the disciples’ feet. Jesus took upon Himself the lowest position in a household by performing this act.

Jesus coming down to serve and do His Father’s will would become even more evident in the Garden of Gethsemane when He prayed, “Not My will but Your will be done.”

And so, Jesus became our example, the one in which we strive to become more like every day, by showing us the ultimate form of self-denial as He not only said, “Not My will but Your will be done,” but then took that road to Calvary and to His death so that we can live.


Daniel purposed in his heart not to go against God or His word and defile Himself with the delicacies of the world. And because He purposed to follow God early on rather than the world, He stood out amongst all others, exceeding them in wisdom and appearance.

God further honored Daniel’s sincerity, commitment, and self-denial by placing within Him a more excellent spirit than all the rest (Daniel 5:12; 6:3), landing him not only as one of Babylon’s top advisors, but was set over the whole realm under Darius, king of the Medes and Persians.

And so, it is with us today. When we purpose in our heart to follow God and His word, He will honor us with wisdom and knowledge beyond our own capability and show us favor with those we deal with in this world. And to do so He gives and places within us a more excellent Spirit, the Holy Spirt. In short, God honors those who honor Him.

This then is what it means to have a purpose-filled heart.

The Power Source

Illustration of the light, turning off and on, and getting plugged into the power source so that we can have those purpose-filled hearts. And by this illustration give you what the Bible says using the giving light as our example.

Jesus is the light of the world

In the beginning on the first day, God said, “‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3 NKJV)

And then on the 3rd day God created the vegetation, which needs the light of the Sun to be able to grow and flourish. Yet, here is the dilemma, what was the light source on the first day? Because it wasn’t until the fourth day that God created the Sun.

May I give you what I think? I think it was the Father telling the Son, Jesus, now is the time to shine. Because what we see at the end of time is the same scenario.

“The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.” (Revelation 21:23 NKJV)

Jesus is therefore the light, and from that light comes life.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NKJV)

But where does this power come from? Well, it is the power that empowered Jesus when He was here and was, and still is, the light of God’s salvation

Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4-5 NKJV)

And knowing that He would be going back to the Father, and His disciples would be His ambassadors to this world after He left, Jesus said something absolutely amazing in His Sermon on the Mount.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV)

Jesus has given to us the responsibility to shine and be lights to this world, but not in our own power or ability. We are to shine His light, and we do so not only individually, but also as a church. Note first the lamp (individually), and as a city on a hill (church, i.e. many that become one in unity).

But where does the power come from, what is the power source to be those lights, that is, the light of Jesus shining in us and through us to this sin darkened world?

It is none other than the Holy Spirit, we need to get plugged into the Holy Spirit.

Since we started off with Jesus as being the light of the world, and then giving us to be His light for now, let’s begin with Him, and see how that translates to us.

While Jesus was here and ministered, as He said, “I must do the works of my Father,” and that He is the light of the world, Jesus was Himself filled with the Holy Spirit.

After His baptism by John, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, and it says, “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” (Luke 4:1 NKJV)

And there for 40 days he fasted and was tempted by Satan, and after He defeated Satan each time, it says, Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.” (Luke 4:14 NKJV)

Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit was the power source behind His victories. Now, while Jesus was fully God when He was here, He was also fully man, and was, the Scriptures say, tempted in all ways as we are, and endured the same hardships and even more that we ourselves face.

And so, the Holy Spirit empowered Jesus as He walked upon this earth, and it is the Holy Spirit that Jesus gives to us when we come to belief in Him to be those lights. It says that right after His resurrection, Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22 NKJV)

And then at His ascension into heaven, Jesus said, “I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49 NKJV) And “John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:5 NKJV)

And so, the power to be what Jesus has called us to be, including being the light of the world, comes in and through getting plugged into the Holy Spirit.

And so it was, around 10 days later that they were filled with the Holy Spirit.

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4 NKJV)

And so, the whole point of this is that to be purposed filled, as it really has been with all of what the Christian heart is supposed to be, we need to first get  saved, that is, coming into that personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and then to get filled with, and baptized in, the Holy Spirit.

And so, how can we then be filled and baptized in the Holy Spirit, all it takes is to ask.

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13 NKJV)

He is our power source and supply, and for us to be filled with His purpose, which is to be those lights, both individually and as a church, all we need to do is ask. Today, we are just one ask away.

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