When people use Daniel as an example for how to live, they most often focus on the fact that he lived a principled life. Daniel refused to bow his knee to false idols and God delivered him. Daniel had firm principles, but he lived those principles with honor and wisdom toward others. Without honor and wisdom, principles can become a barrier to those around you instead of an invitation to a life of greatness.
Your gift will make a way for you. (Psa. 18:16; Dan. 1:19-20)
Honor, wisdom, and humility will advance you. (Dan. 2:13-16, 46-48)
There is so much more that we can learn from the life of Daniel. As a young man, he was taken into captivity by the evil empire of Babylon. He could have chosen to sulk and live in depression. He could have complained and despaired with the mindset that he was being held back from his God-given destiny. Instead, Daniel studied for three years to learn the language and culture of his captors until he was able to identify with, influence, and thrive in that wicked kingdom.
You can’t influence something you won’t connect with.
Your attitude will determine how others treat you. (Dan. 6:3)
Daniel eventually become known as a prophet of God who stood before an infamous, evil king, speaking with integrity, and serving that king faithfully with compassion (Dan. 4:19, 27). Daniel realized that God chose an evil king to rule (Dan. 1:2; 2:37-38; 4:25, 32; 5:19). He also chose to seek his favor instead of rejecting him. As he grew in favor with both God and man, he earned influence that changed the kings life and transformed his kingdom.
You can’t transform anyone you don’t have compassion for.
Loyalty will guard you. (Dan. 2:49)
He showed mercy to a king who deserved judgment; compassion for a king who was terribly wicked. When he did, God released favor on his life that caused him to be elevated to positions of authority and power. First, he was promoted to become the overseer all of the astrologers, psychics, magicians, and wise men. He was okay being misunderstood and associated with the wrong group as long as he maintained his ability to influence them for God. He decided to be friends with sinners and preserve their lives (Dan. 1:18, 24).
It’s better to make an impact than to make a statement.
Integrity will preserve you. (Psa. 25:21; Dan. 4:19; Dan. 4:27)
As Daniel faithfully served in the kingdom of Babylon, he continued to be promoted to positions of greater authority. He did not live a secluded life interpreting dreams and standing aloof from the affairs of the culture. God’s favor on his life promoted him to become a governor, and eventually third most powerful in the land. Just as Joseph did in Egypt, Daniel became a ruler in a wicked land. Also like Joseph, he ruled well and he ruled in the best interest of his kingdom and his king. If he hadn’t, he would not have continued to be placed in positions of trust and authority during the reign of a total of three kings.
If you don’t live with wisdom and honor, you won’t stand before kings, let alone influence them.
Faithfulness will hold you above reproach. (Dan. 6:4)
He remained faithful to God, to his friends, to his earthly kings, and to the people in the culture he was surrounded by. He lived with honor toward all, used his gifts to improve the lives of others, and showed compassion for those who didn’t know God. Daniel’s life is an excellent model for us all.
Jeremy Caris is the founder and president of Caris Ministries. Since he is called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, much of his focus involves equipping believers to hear, know, and follow God in their own daily experience. He teaches the foundational truth of the Word with simple clarity, while revealing deep things of the spirit in practical ways. He has the unique ability to demystify the supernatural side of real relationship with a living God and make it an embraceable and accessible reality for all believers. Jeremy has been married to his best friend, Mandy Caris, for eighteen years, and is the proud father of two boys.