How to be Awesome and do Awesome Things

Being awesome isn't necessarily hard, but it isn't easy either. It isn't hard in the sense that only few people can achieve it, but it's hard in the sense that few people will achieve it. And its easy in the sense that it doesn't take doing great things to become awesome; it simply takes doing a lot of little things on a consistent basis. And being awesome doesn't really take a long time to achieve, it just seems like it does, especially from the start line. It's like building a house. It looks like a massive undertaking, but if you just start and go one step at a time, you will eventual finish. In the same way, you can be an awesome person and do awesome things; it just takes going one step at a time.

In the bible there were a lot of awesome people that did awesome things. One of my favorite was a guy named Daniel. He had been taken captive by the Babylonians and forced into the service of a pagan king. Life was not easy for Daniel, who was Jewish. If he was going to obey God, he would put himself at risk of being killed. It would have been much easier for Daniel just to have blended in with everyone else, mind his business, and not make a stir. But Daniel demonstrated a key characteristic of being awesome: he stuck with his convictions no matter what the circumstance.

Early in his life Daniel began to develop what we call good character. He began to put in to practice small principals that he would keep with him for his entire life. Some of these principals included: honesty, faithfulness, hard-work, regular prayer and study, excellence, courage, among others. These principals made up who Daniel was. He was this way when one no one was looking and when everyone was looking. It was who he was at his core. That is why the bible says of Daniel: “an excellent spirit was in him.” The things that made Daniel excellent lived in the core of who he was. These core values, practiced day by day, continually contributed to Daniel's awesomeness.

Many people are not like this. They don't take the time to allow God to build a solid foundation of core values into their deepest part. What's the result? They become spineless, they bend their morals to accommodate difficult situations, they cheat others to get ahead, they twist truth for pleasures sake.

In Daniel chapter 6 we see both of these type of people. We see the ones who exalt themselves through trickery and flattery, and then you see Daniel, who, through humble practice of solid core values, is exalted by God.

In this chapter of the bible we learn of King Darius – king of Persia and Medes. He has set up a system of hierarchy in his kingdom to be sure that he was 'suffering no loss' (Dan 6:1-2). Apparently he was suffering loss and wanted it to stop. I doubt it did, because he (unwittingly, I'm sure) appointed a bunch of crooks as his governors and satraps. I would venture to say that many of them had cheated and lied their way into the position they were in, and now where taking advantage of that position. I can confidentially assume this given that they were seeking to destroy honest Daniel. Daniel's honesty and faithfulness to the king was a threat to their dirty dealing, especially if he were to be supervisor of them all. And that's precisely what Darius had thought to do. These crooks wanted him out.

The other governors, and many satraps (and even the lesser guys) got together to scheme a way of getting Daniel out. They search for dirt on Daniel that they could bring before the king, but could find none. Why? Daniel was faithful in all his dealings. He did everything honestly and faithfully. He had no dirty past that could be brought up before the king and no evil secret that could be found out. When they realized this, they took note of his zealous dedication to God. Look what they said:

“We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” -Daniel 6:4-5

What a great testimony! I would be honored if my enemies would say this of me! Look at their conclusion: The only way to fault Daniel is to force him to choose between faithfulness to his God or to his king. Wow! His enemies knew that he would choose God even on pain of death. They all agreed it would work.

So, you know the story. They flatter the king to get him to sign a law stating that no one could pray to any god or man, except the king, for 30 days. If anyone transgress this law, he would be thrown into the den of lions (a not-so uncommon thing in those days). Daniel, of course, won't obey this law. Daniel had built his life on prayer. He prayed three times a day, every day, with the windows open towards Jerusalem. Prayer to God had saved his life from a previous maniac king (Daniel 2), and his relationship with God had brought him so far in life. He wasn't going to give up prayer – not even for 30 days. As a matter of fact, he wasn't even going to close his windows when he prayed.

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. – Daniel 6:10

I love his boldness! His core values were rock-solid. He was going to bend for nobody.

What would I have done in this situation? It's hard to tell. I probably would have at least closed the windows for 30 days when I prayed. Getting torn apart by hungry lions sounds a little scary.

Daniel didn't seem to care. I think Daniel was awesome.

So the inevitable happens. These governors and satraps setup a stakeout across from Daniel's house. They catch him praying and go tattle-tale to the king. The king is sick with himself for allowing these crooks to trick him into signing this law against Daniel, but he is forced to carry out the law since the 'laws of the Medes and the Persians cannot be altered' (as Daniel's enemies so eagerly reminded him). The king reluctantly throws him into the lions' den:

So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.” – Daniel 6:16

Daniel's values had brought him to death's door (thrown in death's door, actually). What was to happen would become one of the mostly widely known stories of all time. All the world would hear and know of Daniel's night with the lions. It was awesome.

You can be awesome and do awesome things. Build your core values. Don't bend in the face of pressure. God will use you and great stories will be told for generations to come.