April 18, 2021 | The Den of Lions | Life in the Arena | Daniel 6
• The most practical way to make a kingdom impact in our culture is to pursue excellence in our work.
• Your ability to stand for Jesus in power will be connected to the constancy of your kneeling before Jesus in prayer.
• Authentic faith is the greatest testimony of the transforming work of the Gospel.
In VBS or Sunday School, we have a cartoonish type approach to the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. He’s a young handsome boy who is seen with these skinny lions who are more like kittens than wild beasts. In reality, Daniel was not a young man when this event took place. He was in His 80s serving his third king. So think about the background of the story. Daniel was abducted as a teenager and taken from his family, his home, and his friends. He lived the majority of his life in the “arena” of Babylon as an exile. Yet, despite these circumstances, Daniel remained faithful to God and leveraged his life to make a Kingdom impact.
Like Daniel, we are now living as exiles in this fallen world. God’s desire for us is to live like Daniel, leveraging our lives to make a Kingdom Impact in our culture! The Life of Daniel was defined by the following things and they should define our lives as well:
Daniel was excellent in his work • Daniel stood out so much among his peers that the king’s plan was to give him complete oversight. Daniel was distinguished because …an excellent spirit was in him… What does that mean? It simply means that Daniel took his job seriously and worked with excellence. He didn’t cut corners, he worked hard, he did a good job, he made the organization better, he had a good attitude and strong work ethic. You can see this pattern in Daniel’s life since he arrived in Babylon. Daniel understood that he represented God’s people and the way he worked would be a reflection of what his God was like. If we are going to make a kingdom impact in culture, the most practical way to do this is to pursue excellence in our work.
Daniel had integrity in his walk • Daniel was a man of high integrity. He wasn’t stealing from the office, cheating on his taxes, no underhanded deals were going on, no scandals. He wasn’t perfect but he had such a commitment to honoring the Lord in the smallest areas that they couldn’t find any accusation that would discredit him. He truly lived a life above reproach. As followers of Jesus, we need to live lives with this type of integrity. While we are not perfect, we still need to strive to live in such a way that we do not misrepresent Jesus or discredit the Gospel.
Daniel was faithful in his witness • Daniel’s enemies tried to find dirt on him but his faithfulness to Jesus was so consistent that they literally said, “the only way we are going to get him, is in regards to his obedience to God.” His life was a living testimony of His devotion to the Lord. What the world needs to see more than anything are believers who are seriously and passionately devoted to Jesus. Authentic faith is the greatest testimony of the transforming work of the Gospel.
Daniel was defiant in his worship • Daniel’s life was defined by his worship. Prayer is the ultimate expression of worship because it is the act of humbling ourselves before Jesus in desperation for Him in our lives. Just like Daniel needed a power greater than His own, we need the power of the Holy Spirit. Your ability to stand for Jesus in power will be connected to the constancy of your kneeling before Jesus in prayer. Prayer is never our last resort, it is always our first response!
There are three things we need to remember as we stand in the Arena:
People will oppose you • When God raises you up, people will try to tear you down. Adversity is the greatest indicator that God is at work in and through your life. You need to expect adversity! Life in the arena will not come without a cost.
Jesus has already delivered you! • Jesus is the greater Daniel: blameless, wrongfully convicted, placed in a cave with a seal but emerged in triumph. The enemy was destroyed. In His resurrection, Jesus shut the mouth of our enemy!
The name of Jesus will be glorified through you! • When the world sees the power of God displayed in our lives and when we put all the chips in with Him, they are blown away! What the world needs more than anything is to see believers who love Jesus more than life!
I believe with all my heart that we have the greatest mission field in front of us more than we have ever had. Our world is broken and in need of something real. Recreational Christianity is dying: let us live for God with excellence.