Romans 12 teaches how a follower of Jesus is to no longer conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Faith living feeds our spirit and develops our character, which is the process of becoming a new creation.
Have you ever worked with someone who had a bachelor’s degree in cutting corners and had mastered doing the least amount of work possible?
Some have a Ph.D. in excuse-making to justify their lack of hustle and unwillingness to do more than what is expected. But as Christian’s God expects us to work and live with excellence, giving our best effort at all times.
Daniel is one of the most outstanding people in the Old Testament. Ninety percent of his life was in captivity within kingdoms that did not share his spiritual or moral convictions.
Daniel’s life is a model for us living in a country or an adverse environment and continuing to live with excellence.
In Daniel 6:1-5, Babylon has been conquered by the Persian Empire, and Darius is the new king. Immediately king Darius assigns 120 Satraps to oversee this kingdom and maintain complete control. The title Satrap means “protector of the kingdom.”
On top of that, the king established three officials to oversee those 120 governors.
Among the three, Daniel is selected. Although Daniel is not of Persian descent and well past his prime, the king sees something different in Daniel.
We learn that Daniel is distinguished because he possesses “an excellent spirit.”
Daniel’s primary purpose was to honor God in every way, at all times. He was not interested in imitating others or comparing himself with others to see how he stacked up, but in being like God.
One of the most purpose-limiting activities we can do is compare ourselves to others. By comparing, we over-inflate others’ abilities, thereby quenching our God-given gifts and potential.
Daniel’s excellent spirit was the result of giving his best in everything he did. Even as he is serving a foreign kingdom, opposed to his faith in God, he gave his best.
Verse four says that Daniel was a faithful man. The word “faithful” is translated from the Hebrew word, which means trustworthy.
To be trustworthy implies that you don’t have an ulterior motive or a hidden agenda. Even in a hostile environment to your faith, to be faithful in your duties means he had to leave justice up to God.
The Bible teaches how we are to be excellent in all things. Jesus is our reason and motivation for being excellent in all things.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” Colossians 3:23.
Although this principle was established well after Daniel, his life was guided by this truth. It did not matter who the king was or who was the recipient of his service; he served “as for the Lord and not for men.”
He did not fight against the Babylonian or Persian kingdoms but served them as if he were serving God, and yet he never compromised his faith in God. I wonder how many in the world view Christians as having an excellent spirit?
Colossians 3 eliminates our excuses for why we don’t work hard or give our best based on the character of our boss.
Here’s the thing, like Daniel, your manner of life will distinguish you from others, and it will be either for God’s glory or His dishonor.
“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 1:12
Our excellence should make it exceedingly difficult for people to find wrongdoing with you and leaving them only with the option to create an issue. And that’s what happened with Daniel.
In a fit of jealously, the other two officials and some governors look for reasons to disqualify him, but they find none! So they sought to create a reason by finding something with the law of his God to use against him.
It’s not that Daniel was perfect, but by seeking to honor God with his life, he left little room for error. Therefore, live in a way that leaves little room for others to find fault with you.