You may have grown up hearing the story of Daniel in the lion’s den; it’s a popular story in children’s Bibles because it’s easy to understand and the point of the story is clear. You can find the story in Daniel chapter 6.
If you’re not familiar with Daniel, he is a young Jewish exile living in Babylon. While in captivity, Daniel was forced to make a choice—adopt the Babylonian way of life or continue to worship the God of Israel. Despite threats of punishment, Daniel continues to worship the one true God of Israel. The Bible tells us, “Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or with the wine he drank” (1:8).
By the time we get to chapter 6, the Persians have taken over the Babylonians, but the situation is the same. The government officials legislate decrees they know Daniel will not follow—in this instance, they propose a law where no one will bow to any god but the king of Persia. Of course, Daniel does not do this. Scripture says, “When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upstairs room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before” (6:10 emphasis added).
Because he violated the king’s command, Daniel is thrown into a lion’s den, where God miraculously shuts the mouths of the lions, and Daniel is delivered once again. But an important principle in this story is often overshadowed by the sensational aspect of God’s power over lions—the principle of Daniel’s consistent integrity.
You may read Daniel 6 and think the law of the Persians isn’t that big of a deal. All Daniel needed to do to comply was not pray publicly for thirty days (see 6:7). After all, he could’ve still prayed in private. But if Daniel had chosen not to pray, he would have violated his conscience and compromised his integrity before God.
The Bible uses the phrase just as he had done before intentionally. For Daniel, integrity was a way of life that was untethered to circumstances. He was committed to doing what is right—in public and in private—at all times, regardless of the consequences. That’s what it means to live with integrity. So how do we become men who live with uncompromised integrity?
- Spend Time with God Regularly
Daniel cared about his integrity because his charter was formed by God. How did this happen? Daniel spent regular time alone with God. If we want to be men of integrity, we must do the same. Carve out the time and find a place to be alone with God regularly. As you spend time reading the Bible and praying, God will begin to align your character with His.
- Set Your Standards by God’s Word
When Daniel was taken into exile, he did just as he had done before. His environment and circumstances changed, but his standard didn’t because Daniel’s standard was dependent upon a God who does not change.
- Decrease So that Jesus Can Increase
As good of a man as Daniel was, he was still a sinner like you and me. Jesus is the true and better Daniel. Jesus never compromised His integrity. He lived and died so that His righteousness would be accounted to all those who come to Him in repentance and faith. Those who have trusted in Jesus now live with Jesus’ Spirit inside of them. He guides us in all truth (see John 16:13).
Being a man of integrity means being a man who looks increasingly like Jesus. The more we look like Jesus, the less we will be tempted to compromise our integrity because Jesus was never interested in compromising His integrity. As John the Baptist put it, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
This is just a glimpse of the discussion you and your men’s group might have as a result of engaging No More Excuses, the most recent release from LifeWay Men. For more about the complete No More Excuses, experience visit lifeway.com/nomoreexcuses.