#ThinkingTuesday – Change your thinking; Change your life.
Welcome, dearly beloved. I pray the mercies of God over you today. I hope to encourage and build you up in the Lord. As you grow in knowledge and understanding, may you be empowered to share your convictions with others.
This blog post is a summary of our commentary on the book of Daniel.
Our study has revealed that appetite of excellence boils down to three attributes:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
– I Corinthians 13:13a [NIV]
- Daniel had faith in God (Daniel 6)
- Hope in God’s promises (Daniel 9)
- Love for God’s people. (Daniel 9)
By cultivating these attributes, we can see excellence on display in every aspect of our lives as well. Other aspects of Daniel’s life we can pay attention to in discerning the appetite of excellence include:
Dreams & Prophecies:
Our study of the last five chapters of Daniel revealed that excellence works in the present by discerning the future.
Daniel was able to cultivate excellence by being a student of prophecy. Students of Bible prophecy walk in the light and understanding of what God has revealed to them primarily through His word (Daniel 9:2), and through dreams/visions.
Many of us shy away from the “prophetic”, because of false lies and assumptions we have about what it means to exercise the gift of prophecy. For some of us, it is because we are afraid of what we will see or what will happen. However, what we fail to realise is that if we don’t surrender our spiritual senses to God they will be hijacked by the enemy.
Beloved, I encourage you to surrender even your sleep time to God, granting Him the pleasure to visit you with dreams, visions and prophecies, just as He promised in the book of Joel 2:28 & Acts 2:17.
Many christians fall prey to the enemy because we fail to surrender our spiritual senses, we suffer from sleep paralysis attacks or we wake up unable to remember our dreams. Such events can be very traumatic for the believer dealing with them. As someone who has suffered from sleep paralysis severally, I can definitely tell you one of the major causes was my refusal to surrender and train my spiritual senses for God’s use.
A purposeful life is a prophetic life. We can live a prophetic life by using our spiritual gifts to cultivate excellence. We see this play out clearly in the lives of Daniel and Joseph who had gift of dreams. They fully engaged with the prophetic and lived excellently purposeful lives.
We need to recapture the realm of the prophetic, that’s where we are able to discern and download God’s plans for kingdom operations on earth. You will be truly purposeful when you engage the prophetic, partnering with God to show you what lies ahead and how to navigate it.
Fasting & Prayer:
Daniel lived an incredibly fasted life. Right from the onset that we read about him in scripture, we meet him beginning a fast, and he lived most of his life going on fasts. Daniel was always turning to the Lord, seeking Him through fasting and prayer to show repentance, confession of sins and the need for righteous living.
The point we seek to place emphasis on here is not the fasting, but the fact that Daniel did not shy away from confessing and forsaking his own sins and the sins of his people.
We live in an era of coverups. People scheme and plot to hide their wrongdoings and injustice. Daniel on the other hand, understood that an honest confession will bring deliverance to the land.
Although Daniel is commended for his righteousness in Ezekiel 14:14, he recognized that his righteousness alone could not save his people, hence he continuously cries out in prayer to the Lord to have mercy on them.
As long as we attempt to justify ourselves and defend our unjust actions, we’ll get nowhere because God knows us better than we know ourselves. Our confession of sin opens the door for His mercy, grace, and forgiveness in our lives and in our nation. Proverbs 28:13, Daniel 9:14.
An Excellent Spirit:
On this front, here are some scriptures to meditate on:
Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
– Daniel 6:3 [ESV]
Excellence begins in the spiritual realm. Daniel became distinguished not by his power or might, but because he was led by an excellent spirit. Romans 8:14 says: for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. We have this Excellent Holy Spirit in us today, who is able to magnify the talents and abilities God has placed in us.
A Final Exhortation:
Beloved, if I must add one more thing to all that has been said during our study, it is that excellence is about going against the current. In contrast to the worldly who follow the crowd and walk the wide path of least resistance, Daniel and his three friends illustrate that we can live righteously in spite of our surroundings and circumstances.
We conclude with the following scriptures:
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ – Colossians 3:23-24
But just as you excel in everything, [and lead the way] in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in genuine concern, and in your love for us, see that you excel in this gracious work [of giving] also. – 2 Corinthians 8:7
Skilled workers will always serve kings. They will never have to work for less important people. – Proverbs 22:29
Excellence is a principle that applies well beyond our service at church, into our secular workplaces. God evaluates all we do by His standard of excellence, so make sure to live up to this high calling.
Above all, excellence and holiness must become synonymous to us. We excel not only in our work, but in acts of charity towards our neighbours.
God wants His people to abound or excel in both who they are (inward character) and in what they do (Outward actions/good deeds).
Daniel stood before Kings. So did Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Paul and Jesus. They could not have done this if they did not strike the right balance between inward character and outward actions.
Excellence does not preclude hard work, it presupposes it. There is no way one can love God with all his heart (Matthew 22:37) without working to do his or her best to God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).
– GRACE & PEACE –