The book of Daniel always fascinates me. I enjoy Daniel’s writing style, the stories he shares, and even the emotion he conveys. He tells many stories and shares many prophetic visions that are encouraging and awe-inspiring.
However, one of the things I love most about Daniel is his humble boldness.
The book of Daniel begins with Judah, Daniel’s home, being “besieged” by Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel becomes one of many taken into captivity. Daniel then became part of a select group of “youths without blemish” to learn the language and literature of the Chaldeans. These select youths were given a strict schedule and a regimented diet.
But Daniel had other plans. And so did a few of his friends.
Having once been a teenager and working with teenagers now, I imagine this scene very differently in my head. I picture more “no’s”, crossed arms, and “you don’t understand’s.”
While we don’t know exactly how Daniel started the conversation, Daniel proceeds to compromise “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.”
The tone conveyed here isn’t defiance. Daniel doesn’t say anything about persecution, rights, or even personal choice. He realizes that he is a stranger in a strange land. His ways of doing things don’t match up with the people around him.
As Christians, we should relate to Daniel’s ‘stranger in a strange land’ status.
In fact, depending on your translation, 1 Peter 2 uses the word “exiles,” “foreigners,” and “strangers” to describe Christians living in the world. The world around us isn’t our home. It doesn’t matter where you live — a relatively safe country like the U.S.A. or a war-torn, anti-Christian one. This world is not your home and its ways are not your King’s ways.
So, like Daniel, we should be approaching every situation with a humble boldness.
I’m always grieved when someone shares with me another so-I-told-them-about-themselves story. Or the I-had-an-argument-about-how-this-is-a-Christian-nation.
There are hundreds of ways that Christians strive to live “boldly” for Christ. Unfortunately, most of them are more harmful than good because they aren’t led by humility.
If you’ve ever worked food service or talk with someone who has — Sundays are often considered the worst days to work.
Because those “nice church people” left a tract instead of cold, hard cash.
When I was student at Southeastern University, I had a friend who was preparing to graduate as a pastor. He needed the money so he often worked on Sunday afternoons. But instead of money to pay his tuition, he was told about Jesus — again.
Leaving a tract took zero humility. And, if I may be so bold, it was probably closer to greed than kindness.
Okay, I’ll admit sometimes leaving behind a Jesus message is what is needed — but so is cash to pay the bills.
Knowing when to leave a tract and when to leave an overly large tip, requires a tremendous amount of humility. It requires that we’re humble before God so we can properly hear His prompting. And it requires being humble enough to share that word that God placed on your heart, your last $20, or even ask some deeper questions.
*Insert shock face* many of these things also require a great deal of boldness!
Humble boldness isn’t an easy balance. I think Daniel had a special gift for it but I’m working to live a humbly bold life just as seamlessly.
Long to-do lists and high expectations never worked for me. I find I’m better with easy to follow steps and I want to share with you the three simple steps I’m taking to live with more humble boldness. As I state frequently, I’m a work in progress. I’m not great at any of these things but I find that I’m improving with practice.
Three ways to walk in Humble Boldness:
1.Follow the Golden Rule
This should be obvious. Yet it’s soo difficult for so many of us to follow. I don’t think it’s that people don’t want to “treat others as they would wish to be treated.” I think it more that we have a difficult time imaging someone’s life looking very different than our own.
However, to live in humble boldness, we must seek to metaphorically put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. What struggles are they facing? What keeps them up at night? Who are they arguing with?
2.Listen & Stick to the Topic
Our world has a lot of noise. However, once you start talking to people, you’ll find that many of them usually feel alone. They usually have something they want to say but they don’t feel as if anyone will listen.
If you read through the book of Daniel, you’ll see that on multiple occasions he went in to talk to the king already knowing the question and the answer. But he never interrupts. He doesn’t seem to get bored, weary of listening, or grow impatient. He simply listens.
When it’s his turn to speak, he often engages in active listening. Daniel often repeats what was asked of him while responding. He never softens the hard truth but his active listening ensures that he’s only speaking about what was asked of him. He never adds a “you’ll pay for what you did to God’s people” or any other nonsense.
As someone who likes to expound upon an answer and add a little bit extra info here and there, this one is hard for me.
3.Get More Jesus
The other two mostly take care of themselves as you get more and more Jesus. You begin to see people differently because you’re not seeing them with human eyes — you’re seeing them with the heart of the Father.
Answering people’s deep heart questions becomes an expression of God’s love for them. And you were a part of it!
Reading the Bible and allowing the Truth’s to sink deep in our spirit changes us. We realize just how much this place feels foreign. But we also begin to feel a deep desperation for humanity.
It’s in prayer that God fills us with humility and boldness. It from that place that we learn to walk as Daniel did — with humble boldness.