Clouds of dust rise up from red dirt as heavy, clawed paws hit the earth. A mighty lion is pacing back and forth across the mouth of his den. His yellow eyes roam for a victim. He is restless. Hungry. Ready to stalk his prey.
And then, up from a hill rises another cloud of dust, followed by a group of men. The lion stops. Smells the air. Lets out a thundering roar. Dinner is near.
And sure enough, a man tumbles down into the midst of the lions’ den. The entire pride eyes him hungrily….
But we’ll come back to that story in a moment.
First, I want you to think about something. What do you think about God?
I know, it’s a big question.
Do you believe that God is on your side? Do you believe that he is in your corner? Watching over you? Making you into the person he designed you to be? Making you a champion?
Friend, it’s the truth. God wants you to win. He actually gives you the playbook!
So if you feel like you are always losing. Or if you feel like you’re kind of just living your life sitting on the bench watching everyone else play, let’s look at what that playbook says about how to get in the game and start winning.
That playbook, by the way, is the Bible. It is way more than a thick, boring, dead book full of words that have nothing to do with life today. It’s so much MORE than fictional stories that may or may not have happened thousands of years ago. In fact, I believe it is the best success book ever written.
The Bible is filled with winners. It is filled with people who overcome their odds and go on to have great success in relationships, money and their careers. All we have to do is follow their example.
Which brings us back to the story of the lions. The man who fell into the middle of that lion’s den was named Daniel. Some of you are going, “Yeah Dani, I know the story of Daniel and the lion’s den. That’s kindergarten Sunday School stuff.”
Even if you feel like you already know this story, hang in there with me because we’re going to pull some powerful new strategies out of it.
Daniel was a captive of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar had attacked Jerusalem, conquered it, and taken prisoners back to Babylon. Daniel was one of the men chosen from among the Israelite exiles to serve in the royal court.
So we know right away that there is something special about Daniel. Something noticeable that makes him stand out. Throughout his life, Daniel continues to rise up through the political ranks in the royal court. He works hard, he has integrity, he obeys the king and steps up to serve however he can, and it gets him promoted.
When Daniel is an old man, King Darius replaces King Nebuchadnezzar, and he’s a big fan of Daniel. Not because Daniel is a suckup or a people-pleaser, but because Daniel is genuinely a man of good character. He is a man who follows God.
Well, that favor makes the other government officials jealous. The thing is, they can’t actually find anything wrong with him. He’s blameless.
So these guys are like, “Okay, let’s catch Daniel in a trap.” They go King Darius and get him to sign a 30-day decree that says anyone caught praying to a god or man other than the king would be thrown into the lion’s den.
Daniel prays openly in his upper room anyway, and the king has no choice but to follow his own law and throw Daniel to the lions.
The king is pretty distraught. But he knows Daniel is a man of great faith. He actually says to Daniel, “May your God deliver you.”
The next morning, King Darius goes back to the lion’s den and calls down to Daniel.
“I’m here,” Daniel answers. “God shut the mouths of the lions and protected me.”
Let this story sink in. It’s easy to read through these stories in the Bible and say, “Yeah God performed a miracle in his life, but that’s not how it works for me.”
Or maybe you just discredit it all together as a totally made up story.
But there are some high-level leadership principles we can pull out of this that are going to help you get wherever it is you want to go in life.
1. How To Get Promotions
Daniel got chosen along with only three other men to serve in the royal court. It’s because they had something important in common: a spirit of excellence. What does it mean to you to do something with excellence?
It means you give it your all, right? You work hard. You work with integrity. You are fully committed to whatever task you have in front of you. You do it without whining and complaining. You have a positive attitude.
This is how Daniel operated. He was always stepping up ready to do what needed to get done.
This doesn’t just apply to promotions at work. It applies to your marriage, to your parenting, to your home, to your relationships with friends and family, to your church – every single area of your life can get promoted.
Promoted means it gets elevated. You start to get more out of it. It becomes more fulfilling.
[RELATED: Get even more strategies to help you get promoted in any area of your life right here.]
2. How To Handle Haters
In the story of Daniel, we mostly focus on the whole miracle of the lions not devouring Daniel. But one of the most important parts of the story is how he handles straight-up sabotage.
Daniel never tried to defend himself. He never blamed the men who set him up. He didn’t try and use his favor with King Darius to avoid the consequence. He said, “Yes sir. Do what you have to do.”
Daniel knew in his heart of hearts that he was innocent. And he knew his God was a God of justice. Was he terrified of those lions? Probably. But he trusted his God more.
God stood up for Daniel and carried out His justice. The men who accused him were later thrown into the lion’s den and killed.
Opposition is part of promotion. It’s a test to see how you will handle it. Friend, you will face opposition. You may have already experienced false accusations.
If you know you are innocent, God will defend you. You don’t have to do a single thing except trust him to deliver you from your lion’s den.
3. How To Avoid The Number One Trap Leaders Fall Into
Now that we’ve looked at what Daniel is, let’s look at what Daniel is not. Daniel avoided the number one trap most leaders fall into: the trap of arrogance.
When things start going well, you start getting some favor, you start feeling pretty good about yourself. But then, you start looking down on other people. You start finding fault in others and thinking you have everything all figured out.
When an arrogant person makes a mistake, they try and cover it up instead of owning up to it and apologizing. When an arrogant person gets accused, they defend. An arrogant person refuses to see when they are wrong.
They have no self-awareness. They refuse to humble themselves and see things in a different way. They refuse to give up their position.
It’s time for a heart-check, friend. Do a little self-evaluation. Are you humble, like Daniel? Or are you more like his accusers? Arrogance will hold you back from everything you want. God causes the proud to fall and raises up the humble.
Ask God to show you the places you have been arrogant, and ask him to forgive you. He will promote you when you repent!
For even more plays from the best playbook ever written to help get you off the bench, overcoming your odds and winning at the game of life, get your hands on a copy of Spirit Driven Success.
is full of powerful strategies straight from God’s ultimate playbook to help you get ahead at work, learn how to manage your money and have better relationships.
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