"DARE TO BE A DANIEL" How To Enjoy Success Without Compromise Daniel 1:8-21 ; 6:1-10 INTRODUCTION 1. The Bible is filled with accounts of many godly men and women who are worthy of our emulation 2. One such person is Daniel, a man who obtained preeminence and power in his lifetime: a. He started out preeminent among the children of Israel - Dan 1:3-6 b. He gained preeminence among the wise of men of Babylon - Dan 1:17-20 c. He was given power over all of Babylon - Dan 2:48-49 ; 5:29 d. He received similar power over the Medo-Persian empire - Dan 6:1-3 ,28 3. How was Daniel able to reach these positions of power and influence without compromising his position as a godly man? 4. A close look at the book of Daniel reveals his secret, and shows how we too can be successful without selling our souls [First, we notice that even as a young teen-ager...] I. DANIEL WAS A MAN OF PURPOSE A. "DANIEL PURPOSED IN HIS HEART..." - Dan 1:8 1. A young boy in a strange land, Daniel was immediately faced with a challenge to violate God's law by eating the king's food 2. Despite his youth and the obvious pressures to conform, Daniel "purposed in his heart" to uphold the law of God, no matter the cost 3. Because of his willingness to put God first, God granted Daniel favor in the sight of others - Dan 1:9 a. How God did this is not explained, but it happened in the case of Joseph also - cf. Gen 39:1-4 ; 21-23 b. By putting God first, God blessed Joseph in such a way that favorably impressed others B. EVERY CHILD OF GOD NEEDS TO BE A PERSON OF PURPOSE... 1. No one respects a "wishy-washy" person, someone with no direction in their lives 2. Whereas a strong sense of purpose often breeds respect and admiration in others 3. What should be the "purpose" of the Christian? a. Jesus makes it clear in Mt 6:33 b. I.e., to seek the will of God and fulfill it in our lives, no matter the circumstances 4. As Jesus promised, this will guarantee God's favor toward us and in turn likely gain us favor in the eyes of those around us [Will you "Dare To Be A Daniel" and be a person with a purpose like he had? No matter how young one may be, it is never too early to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness"! Throughout his life, Daniel not only had a strong sense of purpose, but...] II. DANIEL WAS A MAN OF PRINCIPLE A. HE REFUSED TO COMPROMISE HIS CONVICTIONS... 1. As a young man, by refusing to eat the king's meat or drink his wine - Dan 1:8 2. As an old man, by refusing the gifts of Belshazzar - Dan 5:13-17 3. Under the threat of persecution, by refusing to obey the decree of Darius - Dan 6:10 B. PEOPLE ADMIRE PERSONS OF PRINCIPLE... 1. Outwardly they may ridicule them, but inwardly they wish they had the same intestinal fortitude 2. And when they need someone that can be trusted, and depended upon to carry through with an assigned task, who do you think they will turn to? 3. God also admires individuals who will stand by their principles, and by their words - Psa 15:1-5 [Our society is in great need of people with principle. Those who "Dare To Be A Daniel", and demonstrate by example the value of being led by "principle" rather than by "price", are not only highly valued by God but also by their fellow man. But having purpose and principle is not all; another element for true success is needed. What that element is can be seen when we observe that...] III. DANIEL WAS A MAN OF PURITY A. HIS OPPONENTS COULD NOT FIND ANY FAULT... 1. He was faultless when it came to management of his business affairs - Dan 6:1-4 2. This would help to explain his rise to positions of great responsibility and power 3. Of course, his purity in business affairs was related to... a. His overall purpose to please God first b. And the fact that as a man of principle he could be trusted B. THE CHRISTIAN IS ALSO TO MAINTAIN PURITY OF CONDUCT... 1. Whether young or old - cf. 1 Ti 4:12 ; Ti 2:6-8 2. Whether slave or free - cf. Ti 2:9-10 3. People who maintain purity in their dealings with others are often given positions of great responsibility and privilege, because they can be trusted to use them wisely [Yes, Daniel was a man of purpose, principle, and purity (and how the world needs more like him!). But the element that likely tied all these together in such a way to receive blessings from God and favor from man is the fact that...] IV. DANIEL WAS A MAN OF PRAYER A. A GLIMPSE OF HIS "PRAYER LIFE"... - Dan 6:10 1. He knelt in prayer, a demonstration of his humility 2. He prayed three times daily, a demonstration of his continual dependence upon God 3. He gave thanks in the midst of persecution, a demonstration of his gratitude and the fact that he had not lost sight of God's blessings 4. His prayers were a "custom since early days", demonstrating his persistence and faithfulness in his service to God -- Is it not likely that his "custom" to pray so diligently helped him to remain a man of purpose, principle and purity, despite his rise to power and preeminence over the empire? B. CHRISTIANS WOULD DO WELL TO FOLLOW DANIEL'S EXAMPLE... 1. "Let us learn the lesson that the finest of God's servants must maintain regular and fixed prayer habits in order to continue steadfast in devotion to the Lord." (Strauss) 2. As Christians, we too are to pray often - 1 Th 5:17-18 ; Co 4:2 3. If our efforts to live purposeful, principled, and pure lives are not what they should be, could an undisciplined "prayer life" be the reason? 3. Are we willing to "Dare To Be A Daniel" in regards to prayer? CONCLUSION 1. There is a false assumption that to "get ahead" in this world one must conform to the sinful practices of the world 2. But even today there are many Christians who demonstrate that when one "dares to be a Daniel" they can succeed in the affairs of men without selling their souls to the world 3. How about you? Will you "Dare To Be A Daniel" by becoming a person of: a. PURPOSE? b. PRINCIPLE? c. PURITY? d. PRAYER?