Integrity Despite Adversity

It is easy for us to hold to our integrity when life is easy.  After all, when life is going the way we think it should we have no reason to grumble, gripe, or complain.  However, we all know that sooner or later adversity is going to strike our lives.  It is at this moment in which we must decide will we hold to our integrity or not.  Although I would argue that the time to prepare for the storm is before it gets to you rather than when it is right on top of you.  It is like the old saying, “adversity develops character.”  I disagree with that statement because your character is who you are, especially when no one is looking.  You either have good character or your don’t.  I personally believe that adversity reveals our character.  One such example is in the life of Daniel.  God had been preparing Daniel for the lion’s den for years previously.  Daniel was a young man when he was exiled into Babylon.  He was well educated and trained in the Babylonian ways, but he also knew that the Babylonians didn’t know the one, true God.  God placed Daniel in the palace and helped him rise through the ranks.  Of course when a younger person or at least a foreigner comes in to a place of power there is anxiousness and sometimes even feelings of jealousy by those who feel your job should be their job.  This was the case with Daniel.  Some of the people who worked with Daniel didn’t like him and they plotted to get him.  Finally they tricked the king into signing a law that made it illegal to ask anyone but the king for help for 30 days.  The punishment for breaking this law was that you would be thrown into the lions den.

We pick it up at an interesting point in Daniel 6.  Daniel 6:10 says, “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”  Three things I want to draw attention to in this verse.  First, Daniel knew the law and he knew the punishment.  Secondly, he gave thanks to God.  Can you imagine giving thanks to God for something that you knew was going to put you in danger or have an adverse affect on your life?  Finally, he continued to do what he normally did in the same manner as he had always done it.  I think many of us if we heard about this law would have still prayed to God, but I doubt we would thank God, and I really doubt we would do it openly.  But this spoke to Daniel’s integrity, he didn’t want to hide what he was doing because he knew what he was doing was right.  Why did the men want the king to sign this law?  Because they knew what Daniel did each day, and they knew they could trap him.  It may be easier to lose your cool or give people a piece of your mind when they treat you unfairly, but in those moments you preach your greatest sermon by how you react and live in front of them.  Daniel could face those lions because he knew he had done what was right in God’s sight.  Taking the high road is not always easy, but it is where you find the grace of God and the blessing of God.

By His grace and through His strength may we live for Him

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