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“Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” – Daniel 6:3

While reading the Bible in the book of Daniel the phrase in the above verse, “an excellent spirit was in him,” caught my attention. I loved the sound of it. I thought how wonderful it would be if this could be said of every Christian. I wondered what was it about Daniel that would cause this to be said of him. The dictionary defines excellent as “possessing outstanding quality or superior merit; remarkably good; extraordinary; superior.” Spirit in this instance is defined as “attitude or disposition.” So what was it that enabled Daniel to have a remarkably good, superior, and extraordinary attitude or disposition?

Purposed in His Heart

As a youth, probably around the age of 15, Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself and that he would serve God and stay true to Him. He was young, well-educated, handsome, skillful, well-favored, and a captive in a foreign land. In the midst of all this, he had an excellent spirit. Perhaps he was lonely, and I am sure, homesick. But these circumstances did not change his choice to serve God. Many trials came to Daniel, even to the point of losing his life, but he stayed true to God and trusted Him completely.Often, it would have been easy to say, “Everyone else is doing it, I will too.” Daniel was not interested in being popular with the world. There is a challenge similar to Daniel’s for us today in Romans 12:1, 2. His desire was to please God. He determined to live godly without being rude or crude or impolite. An Excellent Spirit was in Daniel even in his youth. Sad to say, many Christians follow the world’s standards and lose their testimony, their joy and their influence. There is a great need today for young people to make the same decision as Daniel. Whatever your age, it is never too late to make the decision Daniel made. Realize that God is always there to give us another chance.

Led a Consistent Life

Daniel, in his 80’s, stayed true to his decision to serve and honor God throughout his life. He was not up and down or in and out, but he could be depended upon. The rulers under whom he served promoted him to high positions in the kingdom. He was highly respected. “It pleased Darius (the ruler) to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him” (Daniel 6:1-4). The 120 princes and the other two presidents became jealous of Daniel. They devised a plan to find fault with him so that they could accuse him and perhaps have him dismissed. But the Bible says they could find no error or fault in him. Wow! Just imagine 122 men watching your life and looking for error and finding none.
What a wonderful consistent testimony Daniel had. Indeed, an excellent spirit was in him. The only fault they could find was that he prayed to God three times a day and gave thanks (which was against a law that they wickedly devised). I wonder what error and fault people could find in me if they watched my life. Would I come anywhere close to having a testimony as Daniel? Would I be accused of praying consistently, giving thanks, and staying true to God?

What About You and Me?

As I age, Daniel challenges me to remain true to God. Too many older Christians seem to lose their zeal for serving. Some become unpleasant, bitter, and fussy. I want to be a sweet old person, one who is a joy to be with. I realize aging has its problems. Physical pain and weakness can cause ill tempers, grumpiness, and complaining. But, if we, like Daniel, keep close to our Heavenly Father by prayer, praise, and thanksgiving, God will help us have an excellent spirit.

You cannot praise and pout at the same time. Also complaining and prayer are not compatible. Being grumpy and giving thanks don’t go together. When our names are mentioned at church, in our families, among our friends, on the job, or wherever people know us, could it be said, “an excellent spirit is in her”? Oh, I desire that! Having an excellent spirit can draw people to God and to the Savior. It can put us in a position to help the hurting and encourage the depressed.

Remember, being rude and mean spirited will help no one. But having “an excellent spirit” can make an eternal difference in many. Let’s ask God to help us!

What about you and me? Let’s try to have an excellent spirit!

This is written because I care – Carlene

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