For Daniel, the line in the sand was his identity as it related to his relationship to the God of Israel. Diet identified the Israelites as belonging to God in an exclusive relationship. This was not debatable for Daniel. He was going to serve the living Lord exclusively. As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams (Daniel 1:7).
They could take him from his country, they could remove him from his family, they could train him in the Babylonian way, they could even change his name. But they couldn’t have what belonged to God alone.
The culture that we live in does not mind us being religious. They don’t mind if you pray and go to church. Just don’t be too passionate about it. Don’t take your faith too seriously. It’s ok to be a Christian as long as you keep it to yourself and act like the Babylonians.
Avoiding assimilation in our day means the same thing it did for Daniel. It means that we say no to the world that is completely comfortable with serving many gods and has little commitment to the Lord.
As Christians we know that we are citizens of two worlds. Because we know God’s truth and we are seeking to order our lives by it, we have a different world view that is shaped by the truth of Scripture. Daniel was not willing to give up his world view shaped by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Having a distinct world view means we look at life differently. We reflect that we know God. We reflect God’s holy character. We’re not going to be satisfied with being defiled. We’re not perfect and sometimes we fall short of God’s holy character, but we’re not happy about it. We want to live pure; we want to reflect Christ. We live differently because we are different and it is God who has made us different.