Grow older but don’t stop growing

Confession: There are times when I feel like taking a break from making myself a better person.

It can be hard work, after all, this whole sanctification thing. Sometimes I see some fruit from all the work and sometimes I don’t. Either way, it can be draining. So there are times when I’d like to coast … to put life on cruise control.

Then I re-read Daniel 6.

You might remember Daniel 6 as the chapter that tells us about his trip to the lions’ den, and that’s a great story. But what’s easy to forget is that Daniel was probably in his 80s when this story took place.

And what was the octogenarian doing? Growing.

Check it out: As Daniel reached what most of us would see as the twilight of life, King Darius took over. Great time to slip out of the leadership limelight, right? But not Daniel. He was one of the top three commissioners and he supervised dozens of satraps who were in charge of running the day-to-day aspects of the kingdom. In fact, Daniel was such a great leader that the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom. (Daniel 6:3)

Why was he such a good leader?

First, he had an “extraordinary spirit.” (Daniel 6:3)

Second, he was trustworthy (not corrupt). (Daniel 6:4)

Third, he was diligent (not negligent). (Daniel 6:4)

And while this impressed the king, it ticked off Daniel’s peers. So they conspired against him, tricked the king, and used the elderly Daniel’s faith against him. The result? Daniel became lion food, or so it appeared. You know the story. God saved Daniel, those evil peers (and their families) ended up as dinner for the lions, and King Darius sang the praises of Daniel’s God.

What we see in Daniel is a man who never put his life on cruise control. He continued to grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52) He worked with excellence. He maintained a vibrant prayer life. He strengthened his fellowship with God. And he held firm to his faith. So when he was put to the test, guess what happened? He was ready … because he never stopped growing.

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