Our small group Bible study spent time in the book of Daniel last year. It was a rewarding and eye-opening study of this man, the culture in which he lived and how he responded to it. Yes, you can marvel at the prophesy and the symbolism of Daniel. We spent time there, but we spent most of our time looking at this special man of God.
Daniel had exceptional character traits. He was a man of excellence and a model leader for all of us to not just admire, but to emulate.
When you read Daniel one of the first things you notice is that he was committed to a lifestyle. He fully understood his personal vision and life mission. He knew what God called him to be and he stuck to the values that came from his deep relationship with God. In the first chapter, as a young man, he's tested, but he doesn't waver. He sticks to his values, his commitments and it shows a deep sense of excellence and connection to God.
Many leaders today find it easy to say they will do something, but harder to do it. They are uncomfortable executing what sounded good at the time. Or, they continually change the ship's direction based on whim, incomplete information or just change for change sake.This may happen because unlike Daniel, they're mind isn't fixed on their values. They waver based on circumstand and external pressure or criticism. Daniel didn't. He was determined to stand firm on values deeply rooted in God's word.
Daniel's mind was fixed on his values. He didnt' live a shallow life out of his emotions, mind and personal will. He did things he probably didn't "feel" like doing, but he did them because they matched his values and personal commitments.
Daniel "found favor." God opens doors and he can close doors, but Daniel knew (as many of us in leadership need to remember) that he didn't want to do anything unless God was in it. He sowed seeds of commitment and determination. He refused to be average. He swam against the current of the times and through it all he glorified God and made sure his values lined up with God's word. He live a long and successful life through tremendous pressure and transition. Through it all, he was blessed by God's favor.
Daniel made a decison to be of excellent character. He didn't waver because his mind was set on Godly values. He remained committed to those basic values no matter the circumstance or his emotions. He was truly a remarkable and effective leader.