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When you think of the great leaders of the Bible, you probably think of Jesus, Paul, and maybe Moses. The Bible is saturated with great examples of godly leadership, and Daniel is a prime example.

He exemplifies fearless faithfulness to the Lord, and there are countless lessons that we can learn from him.

Here are justfour of the many powerful leadership lessons from Daniel that are needed now more than ever:

Lesson #1:  Integrity amidst Temptation

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel –Daniel 1:8-9

In the opening chapter of Daniel, the manner in which Daniel chooses to protect himself from the indulgences of the Babylonian empire is an example that all leaders ought to follow. The Babylonian empire made attempts to force the Jewish people to assimilate to their culture, giving them new names, as well as serving food and drink that would not be considered clean according to Jewish law.

Daniel, along with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, resolved to not give in to the temptations of the Babylonian Empire. They made a resolute effort to remain faithful to their culture, faithful to the Lord.

Faithfulness to the Lord despite temptationis an essential quality of Christian leadership.

There is no shortage of temptations and stumbling blocks that the enemy uses to take down Christian leaders. It is imperative that leaders follow Daniel’s example by not allowing these seemingly innocent temptations to take a foothold.

One key element to Daniel’s success in this area is his use ofaccountability.

Had Daniel taken this initiative in isolation, the temptations could have proven overwhelming. However, in wisdom, Daniel sought faithfulness to the Lord in a hostile environment alongside three Jewish brethren, as well as enlisting the help of the Babylonian eunuchs.

To prove faithfulness in a culture that is hostile to the Lord, it is essential that you do not isolate yourself.Gather a band of brothers and sisters, and together seek faithfulness and obedience to the Lord.In this way, Christian leaders must lead by example.

Lesson #2: God Opposes Pride and Lifts Humble Leaders

Humility is an essential characteristic of a godly leader. As James says, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6).

In the fourth chapter of Daniel, we see this principle in action as the proud King Nebuchadnezzar is utterly humiliated. The King came to Daniel asking for his dream to be interpreted, and Daniel did so. The interpretation of the dream is that the king shall be driven away from men and will eat in the fields like a beast, living like an animal, removed from his glorious status as king.

These events unfold precisely as Daniel had spoken. It is written:

Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws. –Daniel 4:33

This image is far removed from the powerful king of the Babylonian Empire as Nebuchadnezzar is so widely known.

Due to his tremendouspride, God humiliated him, showing him his true place. This is an example for all to follow. Those that lift themselves up will be brought down to humility. However, those who embrace humility will be lifted up by God.

Nebuchadnezzar responded to his humiliation by worshipping God, and God restored his status and glory over the Babylonian Empire. Read his own words of this experience:

At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just, and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. –Daniel 4:36-37

To be a godly leader is to be a humble leader.

Lesson #3:  Daniel Demonstrate Dependence on God

In the same way that a leader must not lift oneself up with pride, one must also not depend on oneself, but rather remain completely dependent on the Lord. As the famous proverb says:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. –Prov. 3:5-6

Daniel, as much as any other hero in theBible, demonstrates complete dependence on the Lord and sets an example that all Christian leaders must follow. When Darius the Mede took over the Babylonian kingdom, his leaders recommended that none shall worship anyone other than Darius. Knowing that Daniel was faithful to his God, they knew that they could convict him, and have valid reason to cast him into the lions’ den.

Knowing that remaining faithful to the Lord would result in being cast into the lions’ den, Daniel responded by spending even more time inprayerto God. It is written:

When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open towards Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. –Daniel 6:10

When Daniel was threatened for his faithfulness to God, he responded with growing intensity in his dependence on the Lord. Daniel was convicted for his actions, and God rewarded his faithfulness, allowing him to survive the lions’ den.

Daniel rejoiced, giving glory to the Lord who kept him safe. It is due to Daniel’s complete dependence on God that God allowed him to endure, and it is the responsibility of all Christian leaders to exhibit this same faithfulness to the Lord as Daniel did.

All Christians are called to covenant fidelity to the Lord, and it is the burden of the leaders God has established to set the example of faithfulness that others can follow.

Lesson #4: Christian Leaders Prioritize Prayer

Prayer is the means through which God works in this world, and it is the duty of all Christians to intercede for others through prayer to God.

In the ninth chapter of Daniel, we see thepower of prayerand God’s faithfulness in answering prayer. Daniel’s continual devotion to prayer empowered him to live the life offaithand leadership that we read about in this great book.

Read as we see Daniel’s prayers answered by the archangel Gabriel:

While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the Lord my God for the holy hill of my God, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. He made me understand, speaking with me and saying ‘O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved. –Daniel 9:20-23

As Daniel began to pray, God’s armies began to work. As it was with Daniel, so it is with you. Because we are greatly loved, God continues to answer the prayers of His people.

Christian leaders must lead by example in this as well—not only speaking of the power of prayer, butliving itand demonstrating it so that others may follow suit.

All Christian leaders should live a life of devotion to the Lord that allows them to echo Paul’s words with integrity, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).


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