Following Daniel’s example of holy living

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Daniel in the Old Testament, specifically the following:

Daniel 6:4
Then the other administrators and princes began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling his affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize. He was faithful and honest and always responsible.” (NLT)

Daniel stands out to me as an example of what Godly manhood is all about. Job has been this figure to me for some time now. The book of Job starts out by saying,

Job 1:1
“Job was a man who lived in Uz. He was honest inside and out, a man of his word, who was totally devoted to God and hated evil with a passion.” (The Message)

What an example for us men to follow! But lately my thoughts have shifted from the example of Job to the life of Daniel. Here’s a man who was appointed as one of the highest officials in the entire kingdom and naturally draws the envy of those below him. Those who were jealous try to plot his demise, but, after a thorough and critical evaluation, they could not find a single fault in his character or work habits. The only way to catch him in something foul was to intentionally pervert a commitment in his life to be something offensive to the kingdom. What did these envious men find in Daniel’s life to be the strongest commitment in which to trap him? His commitment to prayer.

I ask myself the obvious application: if someone were to closely watch my every moment, both public and private, would anything be found that’s less than honorable? If my work was closely analyzed, my motives evaluated, and my actions scrutinized, would the result be anything less than an obvious commitment to holiness and righteousness? To answer in all honesty, I don’t know the answer to that question. Maybe that alone should indicate something to me. If someone needed something in which to trap me, would my commitment to prayer be the best point of attack? Probably not.

My fear is that my response has the potential to become very much works-based in motivation to be a “better person” on the outside rather than being based on my heart’s response to Christ’s love and mercy. This conviction has lain heavy on my heart for several weeks now and so far I’ve seen my depraved nature react both ways. Hopefully, though, I’ll increasingly see myself grow in a worshipful response to the holy lifestyle to which my Lord calls me: to live a life that is above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2), a workman approved who has no reason to be ashamed (2 Timothy 2:15).

Posted on January 5, 2006

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