Summary: The world needs Christians to be excellent in spirit and distinguished from the culture.
1. Tendency of Inwardness
When Wendall Woodall was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, he began recording his journey in a book called Shuffle. His faith in Christ fueled his sense of humor and gave him a basis for daily living. Among his strategies was the habit of volunteering. “A big part of my life is volunteering,” he wrote. “Specifically, I’m talking about when we serve, assist, or in some way help those who are less fortunate than we are…. The Parkinson’s brain tends toward smallness—small steps, small motions, etc. I would say that our brains also tend toward inwardness….It would be so much easier just to stay home and isolate myself from all human contact … But just as I stretch out my fingers, I also stretch out my soul.”
When we serve, it takes our minds off our desire to be served. The danger of being a lover of self is inherent within each of us, regardless of our health. But as we put aside our own desires and become more selfless, we will enrich those around us, show God’s love wherever we are, and develop the mind of Christ.
[Slide I intentionally look for ways to get out and serve others so that I’m not just focusing on me and my problems. That’s why I volunteered. Wendall Woodall
2. There is a temptation for Christians to withdraw from the world – just wait out our time on earth and then go to heaven, even if the rest of the world goes to hell. Tendency for anonymity at church as well.
3. Not an option we are in the world, just not of the world– John 17.14-18 (NLT)
14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.
4. We are part of God’s plan and our world needs you to be the person God called us to be.
a. People others can relate to
b. People of compassion, not judgmental or mean
c. People who lead others to God, not drive them away
5. Daniel’s character before Darius – Daniel 6
I. Daniel was Distinguished by His Exceptional Character (6.1-4; especially vv.3-4)
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; 2 and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. 3 Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him.
A. Daniel’s Exceptional Work Ethic (6.1-2)
1. Capable and rose in Leadership Role – 1 of 3 Officials; Became THE Official
2. Faultless; without Error; Blameless – does nothing worthy of criticism – 6.4
B. Daniel’s Outstanding Appearance
1. He did not look like his culture – Stood out from the crowd
2. If we want to fit into the culture, we do not want to influence it for Jesus; we just want to make it easy on ourselves
3. Daniel was exceptional and impacted his culture – 6.3
II. Daniel was Distinguished by an Excellent Spirit (Ruach) – 6.3
What kind of spirit is in you?
A. The Presence of God’s Spirit Produces Notable Differences
1. In Daniel – Spirit-led Courage (6.8-10; 22-24)
10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.
2. In Us – Galatians 5.16-26
a. Works of the Flesh = Way of the World
b. Fruit of the Spirit = product of HS’ work in Us
B. Don’t Stop the Spirit – 1 Thessalonians 5.19
Before and After
The media has covered many heartwarming scenes of toddlers, born deaf, hearing for the first time after a cochlear implant. That is a true “before and after” scenario—to go from not hearing to hearing with the flip of a switch.