Daniel went through trials and confronted crises all whilst honouring God in his actions and words, but the real test of his faith comes next. In chapter 6, Daniel finds himself appointed as one of the most powerful men in the kingdom with status and authority over all the local rulers. He is even favoured by King Darius who wanted to set him over the whole kingdom (Dan. 6:3).
By studying God’s word and living by the instructions we are given and not by the standards of the world, we can honour God with our lives.
Daniel was in a very comfortable position. He could have had all the wealth he wanted. But despite the temptations of wealth, popularity and other privileges of power, Daniel stuck to his principles and his faith remained strong. However, his honesty and faith led to the disapproval of others: the high officials of the kingdom tried their hardest to find something wrong with Daniel, but there was nothing at all (Dan. 6:4).
Babylon was part of the Persian empire and the religion of the day was polytheistic, meaning they believed in multiple deities. By keeping God’s law, Daniel set himself apart from the crowd even if it meant he would face consequences and was not respected by his peers. Even though Daniel was surrounded by people who didn’t share his faith, he continued to practice it in a way that others could see.
When we’re not surrounded by other Christians do we blend in with the crowd or do we act with the same honesty as Daniel? The pressures of the world can be overwhelming, and often the easier option seems to be going with its flow. By going against the current of worldly practices we can expect to be misunderstood and even rejected, just as Jesus was rejected by those he came to save (John 1:10-11).
Daniel’s honest service in the face of criticism and rejection serves as an example for our own lives. When we’re not in the company of other Christians, for example at school or work, do we act and speak in a God-honouring way? Do our actions serve as a testimony to our faith? Daniel didn’t alter his behaviour to fit in with the norm; instead, he honoured God in his work which made him “distinguished above all…because an excellent spirit was within him.” (Dan. 6:3)
The apostle Paul gives us the key to honest service and honouring God in our daily lives:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.Romans 12:2
Even though Daniel was surrounded by people who didn’t share his faith, he continued to practice it in a way that others could see.
Daniel lived in accordance with God’s law rather than the standard practices of the Persian empire. Likewise, by studying God’s word and living by the instructions we are given and not by the standards of the world, we can honour God with our lives. Why not try studying the Bible with a group of friends for mutual support and encouragement, or using a study guide to help navigate God’s word? Recently I’ve enjoyed using a Bible study app called WordGo which gives me a portion of Scripture to read each day, some reflective questions to help deepen my understanding of the text and helpful commentary. Reading every day will set us on the right path to live for God, just as Daniel did.
Genevieve Schleyer, The Church of God in Liverpool