My Biblical hero growing up was Daniel. Here was a man who was successful in the corporate world of his time, stood up for principles, and kept his relationship with God in focus. The amazing part is that he survived and in fact continued to grow in power under different kings and cultures. Nothing seemed able to stand in Daniel’s way!
I always thought I could be Daniel. I could pursue the corporate dream, stay true to my values and priorities, grow in my relationship with God, and be successful in every sense of the word. Then reality hit! The world can be ugly, harsh, and cruel. As hard as one might work the world, on the whole, does not change. Honest pursuit of the challenge at hand invites enemies within. Transparent dialogue presents an opening for intrigue and subterfuge. Success provides a rationale to challenge and criticize.
Is there an answer to any of this? Pundits over the centuries continue to suggest that evil can only be met with evil. White face, black heart is more than a metaphor. “Prince of thieves” is not a children’s story. Manipulation, pain, and exploitation are tools of the trade. The way also includes deception, half truths, and word twisting.
My desire when I was you was to make it to the top of the ladder with my integrity and values intact. Now that I have climbed a few rungs on the ladder I seem to have different desires. I have found that the easy way up requires more than I am willing to pay. “Make it to the top by lying and cheating; get paid with smoke and a promotion – to death!” (Proverbs 21.6) Failing to do that may cost the ultimate step. My response now is “so”?
What are the true desires of your heart? I know that my desire is to know God intimately. Everything else flows from that one desire. My love for family and those around me comes from a sense of what I can do for them because of God’s gift to me.