Daniel 6:10, “He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.”
There is much talk in the church about the ‘radical’ Christian life. But I would suggest that the radical Christian life is simply the ordinary Christian life. Is there anything more radical than loving the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and loving your neighbor as yourself?
Is there anything more radical about denying yourself, taking up the cross, and following the Lord Jesus Christ?
Is there anything more radical than poverty of spirit, than mourning over sin, than hungering and thirsting after righteousness, than cultivating purity of heart?
Is there anything more radical than confessing, ‘Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory’?
Is there anything more radical than devoting time, energy, and money to the kingdom of God – a kingdom not of this world?
Is there anything more radical that sharing the good news of life and forgiveness in Christ with a lost neighbor or inviting a co-worker to church?
Is there anything more radical than setting aside the first day of the week to gathering with your spiritual family and to worshiping the Lord Jesus Christ?
Is there anything more radical than loving your spouse with the love of Christ and to raising your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord?
This is the Biblical Christian life.
Put simply, the radical Christian life is the Biblical Christian life – the radical Christian life is the Christ-like life – it is the ordinary Christian life – it is a life of faithfulness and devotion to our Savior and to his Word. It is this life that we are called to live – it is this life that shines the light of Christ into a dark and sinful world – and it is this life that we dare not compromise.
There are numerous places in Scripture to which we could turn to see this ‘ordinary’ Christian life on display; but perhaps one of the clearest examples is from the life of Daniel – the aged exile living for the glory of God in a pagan land and under a pagan king.
Daniel was exiled to Babylon when he was just a teenager (see chapter 1); but by the time we come to Daniel 6, the Babylonians have been conquered by the Persians and Daniel is serving as a high-ranking governor in the Persian government. Yet Daniel remained faithful to his Lord and never compromised his Biblical convictions (6:1-3).
The Persian officials, however, wanted to be rid of Daniel and thus they duped the king in to issuing an edict they knew Daniel would violate (see 6:4-9). There are two brief points to note from this episode:
First, Daniel’s holiness was evident to all. Verses 4-5 state, “Then the president and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom (i.e. the Persian kingdom), but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error of fault was found in him. They these men said, ‘We shall not find any grounds for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.’” Daniel’s faithfulness (especially see v. 4, ‘because he was faithful’) – his Christian life – was evident – it shone brightly to all those around him.
And second, Daniel did not compromise when the law of God was set against the law of man. The king’s edict required that prayer only be made to him, but ‘when Daniel knew that [the edict] had been signed, he went to his house … he got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously” (v. 10; cf. Acts 5:29).
Yes, Daniel was a faithful servant, an honorable worker, and he rose to a high position in the Persian court, but he would not compromise his faith. If man said, “You cannot pray or you will die.” Daniel said, “I must pray even if it means I will die.”
It was the ‘ordinary’ Christian life that was on display in Daniel – both in his day to day faithfulness; and in the extraordinary times when the disciplines of the Christian life were set against the laws of man.
Brothers and sister, may we labor on in the grace and power of the Spirit – may we strive to be faithful in the ordinary Christian life – for it is the ordinary that our Lord uses to do extraordinary things (e.g. see the confession from the lips of a pagan king, Dan 6:26-27).
Rev. Robert Arendale is the Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Cypress, Texas. Born in Nashville, he attended college at Baylor University. There he met his lovely wife, Christy, and the Lord has since blessed them with three children. Prior to coming to Houston, Robert was the Associate Pastor at Ballantyne Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC. Robert has earned degrees from Baylor University, North Carolina State University, and Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte). He is currently pursuing a Th.M in Biblical Studies from Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. For more information about Cornerstone Church, and to listen to Robert’s sermons, please visit www.csopc.org.