Richard Roberts – First of two parts
Daniel 6:3 tells us, Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
All throughout society in which we live, excellence is rewarded. Everyone is looking for someone who is excellent at something. When you go to a doctor, you not only want to know that they graduated from medical school but also that they have had good results with their patients.
When you hear someone preach, you want to hear an excellent message. You don’t want to hear three points, a poem, get a handshake, and go home. You want to hear something that will reach down inside your soul and cause you to believe. When someone prays for you, you want that person to call down fire from heaven in your behalf.
One night, when one of our children was ill, we called my father for prayer. Lindsay told him, “I want a prayer that comes out of your tent crusade days. I want an excellent prayer!”
Now, Daniel was not born with an excellent spirit; it had to be developed.
First, Daniel had an excellent spirit because he was a man of prayer. The Bible says that he fell on his knees and prayed three times a day.
You and I are living in a day when the Holy Spirit has been poured out and we can stop and pray in the Spirit anytime we want. I pray in tongues as I drive my family across town. And again, on another day, I might be praying while I’m in an airplane flying across the country. Wherever I go, I am praying in tongues. Why? Because… I don’t know what to pray for as I ought, but the Spirit makes intersession for me (Romans 8:26).
Second, Daniel was a man of work. The Bible says in James 2:17 that faith without works is dead. You can pray all you want, but unless you put some work with it—an act of your faith—it’s not going to succeed. It will not happen. Daniel carried out the responsibilities. He did the job. There is something special about effort or action, and that is the reward!
Something comes on the inside of you when you know you’ve done your job, when you know you’ve done all that you can do. You have no right to stand, as the Bible says in Ephesians 6:13, until you have done all you can do, and then stand.
Many of us try standing on the Word of God when we have not done all that we can do. Without God, I cannot; but without me, He will not. There is something I must do. I must use my faith, but I must also use my effort and work.
Paul said to Timothy, Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). This is a working time, a time of action, to prepare you for what God has for the rest of your life. It is a time to build and develop an excellent spirit within you.
Third, Daniel was a man of discipline. He disciplined his mind, and he disciplined his body. If you recall, the Bible says that he refused to defile himself by eating the king’s meat, which was against the Jewish law. He disciplined himself.
Without discipline in your life, you’ll have anarchy. You must subject your body, mind, and spirit unto the Lord. And when you do that, He is able to use you.
And fourth, Daniel was loyal to God. He may have been a prisoner in Babylon, but he was loyal to the Lord God of Israel. Today you will see people who have loyalties of all different types. And people change loyalties. But Daniel refused to change. No matter what anyone said or did, he was loyal to God.