A Spirit of Excellence
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss.
Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm.
So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.
- Daniel 6:1-4
To put it mildly, Daniel was dealing with a bad situation. He had been captured, taken away from his home, and placed in the secular, idol-worshipping culture of Babylon. His name was changed from Daniel to Belteshazzar. He was forced to speak Chaldean instead of his native Hebrew language. Even his diet was changed from familiar to foreign.
Worst of all, they wanted to change Daniel’s belief in the one true God.
In spite of his situation, Daniel was flawless in his character. He was committed to serving his God. And he caught the eye of the king because he had an excellent spirit. There was something about the way Daniel conducted himself that distinguished him from everyone else.
Daniel was diligent, detailed, and dependable in his work. I believe if you gave Daniel a vacuum cleaner, he wouldn’t just vacuum the rug. He’d vacuum the sofa, too, and get in between the cracks, just to make sure everything was done right.
He was also diligent and determined in his relationship with God. He didn’t just pray once a day. He didn’t just pray twice a day. He prayed three times a day, every day.
Daniel had a spirit of excellence.
When we have a spirit of excellence, it spills over into every aspect of our lives. We excel in what we do. We do it with diligence. We do it with professionalism. We strive for excellence at home, at work, at church, and in our relationships. A lifestyle of excellence brings glory to the God we serve.
But not everyone is going to be happy with someone who has a spirit of excellence. People who are sloppy and mediocre don’t have a problem with other people who are sloppy and mediocre. But they do sometimes have a problem with someone who excels.
That’s what happened to Daniel. He was bringing glory to God and the enemy didn’t like it. The people he worked with saw his accomplishments and started looking for a way to sabotage him and destroy his favor with the king.
I can just imagine them: “Let’s find Daniel lying. Let’s find him stealing from the king. Let’s find him having an affair and leak it to the king. He’ll lose his power then. He can’t be that great. He’s hiding something. Let’s find it and use it to destroy him.”
But they found nothing to use against Daniel. You see, a spirit of excellence doesn’t just affect our work, it affects our integrity, too. When we know we’ve been called by God, we live a life of honor, regardless of the situation we find ourselves in, what the people around us are doing, or who is or is not watching. Daniel’s peers could find nothing to use to attack his character because of the spirit of excellence in his life.
Because of his spirit of excellence, Daniel worked to ensure the kingdom of Babylon “would suffer no loss.” We live in a greater kingdom than the Babylonian kingdom—we live in the Kingdom of God. Our character must be strong because we never want to bring shame to Jesus’s name, or cause the Kingdom to suffer loss.
We represent God’s kingdom here on earth. God help us to have a spirit of excellence! May we be like Daniel. When people searched for secret sin in his life, they found nothing. May there be no secrets in our lives, so we live out a life of integrity and do the Kingdom no harm.
It’s time to examine our lives. We must do our very best for Jesus because the world is watching us. We must not settle for mediocrity and sloppy living. We are anointed to rise above an ordinary, common life and live with a spirit of excellence.