George Everard, 1885
"We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel, unless we find it in connection with the law of his God." Daniel 6:5
It was a noble testimony. Here was Daniel in high position, as a city set on a hill that could not be hidden. He was a sort of governor of the whole kingdom, and more than a hundred lynx-eyed enemies were ever around him, watching to discover in him some cause of offence. Though in a heathen court, temptation must have abounded on every side yet these bitter foes have to confess that he is blameless in all the matters entrusted to his charge. His foot stands firm in the paths of truth and equity. Nothing of falsehood, nothing of double-dealing, nothing of injustice can be laid to his charge.
Blessed are they who have something of a like spirit! Consistency of life and walk is one of the most effective arguments that can be used to persuade men of the truth of the religion we profess. It is far away the best sermon that can be preached. It is to this the Apostle Paul exhorts the Philippian Church: "That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world" (2:15). It has been said, "Were all Christians but thoroughly consistent for twenty-four hours, the mouth of every infidel would be stopped."
And facts continually come out which show the convincing power of this grace. A young Englishman was traveling to a distant station in north-west America. For a two weeks or three weeks he had to travel by a boat which was rowed by half-a-dozen native Christians. The young man was himself living quite a careless life. But when he watched these men and noticed how careful they were in their language and conduct, in their observance of Sunday, in their morning and evening devotions, he was led to deep conviction of his own sinfulness, and a desire to live a better life. "What a shame it is for me," he said to himself, "after being brought up in a Christian country, to be living as I have been while these men, who were born heathen, are so different to myself." It was a lesson he never forgot, and it led him into an entirely new course.
But what is consistency? It is the whole life in harmony with the revealed will of God in Scripture. It is a constant painstaking effort in everything to do the will of God. It is not a field, partly wheat and partly tares. It is not a tree, with living and dead branches. It is not a patched garment, partly old and partly new. It is not a lamp of which half the glass or globe is blackened by smoke. It is a life which is all one thing. On Monday as on Sunday, at home as in society, in the playground as in the schoolroom, a hundred miles away as in the place where you live
keeping a good conscience towards God and man,
hating everything that is corrupt and evil,
living a holy life, and
striving manfully and bravely to do your duty in the station where God has placed you.
Such is consistency. The light shines steadily. It is not the track of the comet, but the bright ray of the fixed star.
How may you thus live day by day? How may you thus honor God and benefit His Church?
You must have a deep root to your religion. Look at Daniel. He was a man of genuine faith. "So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God." (Daniel 6:23).
He was a man who knew and confessed his sins (9:20). Though so blameless before men yet he was deeply conscious how far he fell short of God's holy law.
He was a man who had great value for prayer. He desired his companions to join him in prayer on one occasion (2:17, 18). And when it was at the peril of his life, he prayed and gave thanks thrice a day.
If you wish to live a consistent life as Daniel did, you must be well rooted and grounded in God's faith and fear. Go deep down. Look for the blessed Spirit, the Comforter, to give you a true sight of your sin and to teach you humbly to repent of it. Seek grace firmly to believe all God's gracious promises to you in Christ.
And cherish a spirit of prayer. Pray often if you cannot pray long. Never neglect your prayer morning and evening and, like Daniel, try to steal a quiet moment in the midst of the day when you can afresh look up to God for grace and help.
Then, if you want to be consistent, watch against every disturbing force. Whatever seems likely to turn you out of the straight path, most jealously cast aside.
Greediness of gain,
the dazzling blaze of the world's attractions,
love of praise,
a secret envy of one preferred to yourself,
hasty tempers, irritability,
your own special besetting sin,
unchaste thoughts or words,
the fear of man,
murmuring, impatience, depression, unbelief,
SELF in any shape self-will, self-confidence, selfishness, self-assertion
anything, my young brother, that brings a cloud between you and God, or that may impair your witness for the Master by His grace trample upon it and keep it down as your worst enemy!
Never reckon anything small. Be it a sin to be avoided, or a duty to be performed the very least matter may affect your whole life. Therefore mind little things. A grain of dust, may impair your sight and make you fall. The smallest neglect or sin, may work terrible havoc in your soul!
"Every day and every hour,
Every gift and every power,
Consecrate to Him alone
Who has claimed you for His own."