Daniel’s story is told in the book of Daniel. He is also mentioned in Matthew 24:15.
Refused to compromise
Daniel’s greatness comes in his quiet refusal to give up his convictions. He resisted changing the good habits he had formed. Daniel tactfully chose a simpler menu and proved it was a healthy choice.
Daniel 1:8 But Daniel made up his mind not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief official for permission to eat other things instead.
He refused to give up his praying habit even when that meant being thrown into a den of hungry lions.
Daniel 6: 6 So the administrators and princes went to the king and said, “Long live King Darius! 7 We administrators, prefects, princes, advisers, and other officials have unanimously agreed that Your Majesty should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next thirty days anyone who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to Your Majesty—will be thrown to the lions. 8 And let Your Majesty issue and sign this law so it cannot be changed, a law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 9So King Darius signed the law. 10 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.
There may be times when our convictions will be tested. For example, in our workplace, are we willing to tell lies because we have been told by our bosses to do so? Do we compromise on our Christian character when we are with non-Christian friends?
Daniel’s convictions prevailed even under the test that threatened his life. Have we compromised on our convictions lately? If so let’s confess before God and ask Him for strength to stick to our convictions during hard times.
Made spiritual practices into habit.
He was able to communicate with God because he made it a habit.
Daniel 6: 10 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.
The verse keeps emphasizing that Daniel’s prayer life is a habitual experience. He did not do it once in a while or only when he feels like doing it. He was able to stick at it because he made it into a habit.
Some Christians have to decide every Sunday whether they should go to church. For these Christians, I am quite sure that they will not go every week because sometimes the decision will be “yes” and other times “no”. Christians who go to church every week are those who make it into a habit. Every Sunday, they go to church without having to ask if they should go.
Likewise, we can look for ways to make other spiritual disciplines into habits. For example, we may decide to pray every time we drive home from work. Therefore since we drive home from work every day, we also ended up praying every day. The idea is to look for ways when we can do it automatically without having to make a decision every time.
Made use of opportunities to praise God.
Daniel 2:27 Daniel replied, “There are no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or fortune-tellers who can tell the king such things. 28But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future. Now I will tell you your dream and the visions you saw as you lay on your bed…. 30And it is not because I am wiser than any living person that I know the secret of your dream, but because God wanted you to understand what you were thinking about.
We are often tempted to think that what we have achieved is the result of our own doing and forget that it is God who graciously supplies all things to us. Daniel did not fall into this trap. Although he holds the coveted title of being the only person in Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom to be able to interpret his dream, he did not try to get credit for himself. Instead he was quick to point out that it was his God who had revealed the secret of the dream and not because of his own ability.
What are the things that you are good at? Have we been proud of our achievements? We have been proud if we despise people who have not been endowed with the same capabilities. Let’s confess if we have been guilty of this.
Are we quick to give God the glory? When we are praised because of our God-given abilities, let’s follow the example of Daniel and use the opportunity to give God the glory.
Was not afraid to offend people with truths
When Daniel was asked by Nebuchadnezzar to interpret his dreams, he was not afraid to tell the truth even though that truth would be offensive to the king. He boldly told the king that he was going to be insane for seven years.
Daniel 4:20You saw a tree growing very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. 21It had fresh green leaves, and it was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. 22 That tree, Your Majesty, is you. For you have grown strong and great; your greatness reaches up to heaven, and your rule to the ends of the earth. 23 “‘Then you saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, “Cut down the tree and destroy it. But leave the stump and the roots in the ground, bound with a band of iron and bronze and surrounded by tender grass. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven. Let him eat grass with the animals of the field for seven periods of time.” 24″‘This is what the dream means, Your Majesty, and what the Most High has declared will happen to you. 25You will be driven from human society, and you will live in the fields with the wild animals. You will eat grass like a cow, and you will be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.
We are often afraid to tell people of the wrongs they have done for fear of offending them. Although we have to be tactful when we tell people of their wrongdoings, we cannot run away from these painful truths. We cannot run away from the fact that if they do not believe in Jesus they will suffer eternal punishment in hell.
Have we avoided telling the truth to some people for fear of offending them? Let’s ask God to give us the boldness and the tact to tell them the truth in love.