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Dancing With Lions

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By Paul Richey

So often, we find that life is difficult to navigate. Temptation lurks around each corner and the world challenges us to adapt and accept the ways and manners of the world. But followers of Jesus are called to live in a manner that exemplifies the residence of Christ in the believer’s heart. Such an example of this style of Christ-filled living occurred in Daniel 6. There, Daniel demonstrated the various dance steps needed to dance with lions.

The initial dance step is a life of Christian character. Daniel demonstrated such a life as he was considered distinguished above the leaders of the world. Daniel 6:3 defined the life of Daniel in such a way that his character was far and above the character of people without a relationship with the Lord. Ultimately, this character displayed an excellent spirit within him. Daniel’s life stood out in the world because he rested in being led by the Spirit and being controlled by the Spirit. Such a life approaches life by seeking to live obediently for the Lord in every avenue in life.

The step of character elevated Daniel before the king. As the king looked at Daniel, he recognized that something greater than Daniel himself was at play. Daniel’s obedience to the leading of the Lord created an atmosphere where he distinguished himself before the king and was able to hold influence. This ultimately existed because he lived a life of faithfulness and innocence before men. Daniel 6:3-4 speaks to this style of living and challenges us to follow the example of Daniel.

Ultimately, the first dance step is a step of separation. The character of the individual separates them from the status of the world and identifies them with Christ. This is why the Apostle Paul declared that being a child of God would create one to be a stranger and alien in this world. As a result, we are all faced with a question, Do I live in a way that separates me from the world at work, play, and in relationships?

The second dance step is the recognition that this style of living will be difficult. Daniel 6:4-9 teaches that the people of the world will be jealous of the life of a believer. Those around Daniel were jealous of his success and favor with the king. As a result, they desired to create a situation that would bring demise to Daniel. Thus the second step is to recognize the reality and struggle of obedience.

The struggle identified in the life of Daniel pointed to the truth that the world cannot stand a person’s relationship with the Lord and as a result desires to attack that relationship. The opponents of Daniel knew he wouldn’t back down from his allegiance to the Lord and as a result used political means to make it illegal to serve the Lord. Culture will attempt to silence the faithfulness of the believer because they desire to set a trap to cause pain against the believer. Daniel faced such a trap and remained faithful through it all.

The third dance step is a life that is unashamed of one’s relationship with the Lord. No matter what Daniel faced, he would not back down from his relationship with the Lord. He boldly and faithfully lived in an unashamed manner. Daniel demonstrated what choosing the Lord over the world looks like. Even knowing the punishment of serving God in the world, Daniel chose to seek the Lord and openly worship and seek him.

The act of obedience led to Daniel’s arrest and reality of facing death in the lions’ den. But the life of Daniel did not bend or break because his life spoke clearly to his trust and faithfulness to the Lord. Daniel’s name means the Lord is my judge and he ultimately knew that the world did not hold the authority to judge his life. Thus, he unashamedly faced the punishment of death from the world because he trusted in the Lord to work.

Each dance step is needed in the dancing with the lions. When one dances with lions then the dance declares the story of redemption. The Bible declares that as the morning sun rose; the king found that the lions had not harmed Daniel. As Daniel lived faithfully, God’s nature was declared. God revealed himself as the living God who cares for his own. He revealed himself as the God of redemption. He delivered, rescued, and revealed His work in the life of Daniel. In the same way, the Lord works today as the deliverer, rescuer, and revealer. Are you dancing in life in a manner that allows the Lord to be seen as the needed deliverer in life from sin? Are you dancing in a way that shows Jesus as the needed rescuer for men? Will this be a year of dancing like Daniel did, the dancing with lions?