August 24, 2018
READ: Daniel 6:1-28
Daniel distinguished himself . . . because an excellent spirit was in him (v.3 nkjv).
I came across a post on a how-to website entitled “How to Stand Out as a Christian”. The article suggested believers can best represent God in the world through time in prayer, meditating on Scripture and loving actions. As I read the post, I wondered what I might suggest on the topic. It occurred to me that what makes believers stand out from unbelievers isn’t primarily specific actions, but the quality of fruitfulness.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22), all rolled up into one delectable harvest. I imagine this captures the excellent spirit Daniel’s peers observed (Daniel 6:3 nkjv). Although forced to be a part of Babylonian culture, Daniel nevertheless “determined not to defile himself” (1:8), and so he stood out (5:14).
Later, after Darius the Mede conquered Babylon, he noticed Daniel and “made plans to place him over the entire empire” (6:3). It’s likely that the new king put his own officials into the other positions of power, meaning that Daniel would’ve been the only one left from the previous administration. A plot was hatched to discredit Daniel based on his faith, and Darius was tricked into signing it (vv.4-9).
But when Daniel heard about the law, “he went home and knelt down as usual [and] prayed three times a day” (v.10). This action landed Daniel in the lions’ den, yet it was Darius who had a restless night! (vv.17-20). The next morning, floored by Daniel’s miraculous deliverance (vv.21-23), the king decreed that his kingdom should fear Daniel’s God (v.26).
Daniel stood out because he bore fruit that glorified God. In His strength, may we also stand out for Him!
365-day plan: Mark 10:17-31
Read Matthew 7:15-20 and think about Jesus’ message on fruit.
How has God equipped you to bear fruit? What might need to change for you to be a better witness for Him?