Daniel was forced to decide if he was going to be a conformer or a transformer. What’s the difference? Pressure controls a conformer. If you place enough pressure on them, they’ll cave. If you put enough pressure on them, they will smoke the first joint, they will take the first drink, they will do what everybody else is doing. But principle governs a transformer.
You say, ‘Living that way is very demanding.’ Yes; and it’s very protective. God knows better than we do how to avoid pain, frustration, and destruction in our lives. Because He sees the cliff’s edge clearer than we do, He places guardrails next to the drop-off. And when we follow His commands we avoid heartache, pitfalls, and the loss of our reputation. Refusing to eat the king’s meat was not a matter of diet, but of dedication to God.
Now, we’re not advocating the idea: ‘let conscience be your guide’. Your conscience is not always a good guide. Because you don’t think something’s wrong doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think it’s wrong. Your conscience can be damaged and it can be burned. The Bible speaks of people who have ‘their conscience seared with a hot iron.’ (1 Timothy 4:2 KJV)
Paul writes, ‘My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.’ Nevertheless, the conscience question is the first you should ask when faced with a difficult decision. Rarely do you make a good choice to do something, if you know doing so will take your conscience on the dreaded guilt-trip. So, live by your convictions.