Against the Flow

Firebrands small group discussion March 10, 2007 1. Testimony question a. Our theme for this month is about integrity. In your own personal words, how do you understand integrity? b. Two true tests of character: i. The test of adversity 1. Adversity is the test of our stability. When we encounter trouble, calamity, loss, all kinds of adversity, we quickly learn the depth of our stability. 2. Proverbs 24:10 ii. The test of prosperity 1. This test is even tougher, yet much more subtle 2. Prosperity is the test of our integrity. Prosperity reveals our true values. (Prosperity isn’t limited to material prosperity only). 3. Proverbs 27:21 iii. Why, in your opinion does the test of your integrity more complicated that the test of your stability? Searching the Scriptures a. Today we will study about a bible character named Daniel. What was Daniel famous for? The lion’s den. More than the lion’s den Daniel is a true model of godly integrity. Open your bibles to Daniel 6 b. Was there ever a time that you received a negative reaction (punishment) because you maintained your integrity (instead of getting a reward)? i. We are always under the impression that if we do wrong we will be punished but if we do right we will be rewarded. That is not the case, especially in our world today. c. Background: Daniel 6:1-3 i. He was around 80 years old during this time. And he went under a few more kings before King Darius (who is the king this time). ii. Darius appointed him as one of the 3 administrators in charge of part of the 120 satraps (governors) in order to minimize the risk of corruption. iii. Verse 3. What was the king’s reason why he appointed Daniel over his kingdom? Daniel distinguished himself among the others by his exceptional qualities (integrity) iv. In worldview, it’s not what you know but who you know that gets you the promotion. But in God’s view, it’s what you are, not who you know. It’s what you are in character. d. 4 signs of integrity we can find in Daniel: i. An excellent attitude 1. Read Daniel 6:4. How is our attitude? Perhaps it is good right now, but how about tonight or tomorrow or when the going gets tough? 2. Daniel had an excellent attitude. With excellent attitude it is expected that we could wrongly rub off with fellow workers/students who will be bothered because you are not like them. And they might be envious/jealous that you might even endure what Daniel experienced. 3. How would we react if our life came under a secret investigation like Daniel’s? Would it make you nervous? Would you destroy some evidence? Or hide the skeletons in your closet? 4. With Daniel’s excellent attitude, “they found no corruption in him. Because he was a trustworthy or neither corrupt nor negligent.”

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Faithful in his work 1. Verse 4. “They found no corruption in him. Because he was a trustworthy or neither corrupt nor negligent.” Daniel’s enemies tried looking for something they could criticize in his work but found none. Daniel wasn’t negligent of his responsibilities. 2. Proverbs 20:6-7 a. Are we a trustworthy person in school/work even in times when no one is looking? b. Verse 6. Do we pursue excellence in our work? Our actions/work says a lot about us without opening our mouth. c. Verse 7. Where does a righteous man walk? iii. Personal purity (character) 1. Recount story illustration in page 85-86. 2. While some people look personally pure on the surface. Daniel was an honest man who was personally pure in character inside-out. No hypocrisy and nothing to hide. 3. Read verse 5. Because his enemies had nothing to criticize about his attitude and work, they tried to find flaw in regard with his faith. 4. Read verses 6-9. What plan did Daniel’s enemies devise to try to destroy his credibility? iv. Consistent walk with God 1. Read Daniel 6:10. Daniel was consistent with His walk with God even in risk of getting thrown in the lion’s den. 2. Notice, “He got down on his knees and prayed … just as he had done before.” He didn’t just resort to prayer in panic, but it’s what he’s been doing even during the good times. A consistent devotion was his lifestyle. How is our prayer time? Do we just resort to panic praying when we are cornered by a tragedy or real emergency? 3. Illustration: A quotation hanging on a wall said, “When you’re faced with a busy day, save precious time by skipping your devotions. Signed, Satan.” 4. Psalm 55:17. Prayer should be a habit, a lifestyle. v. Summarize the following verses (11-28) and the outcome of Daniel’s trial. Verse 28 said in the end, “Daniel prospered…” New American Standard Bible says “Daniel enjoyed success…” during the reign of Darius. Who doesn’t want to enjoy success like Daniel’s? Review the 4 signs of a person’s integrity. Yielding to the Spirit a. Several questions need to be answered if we plan to get serious and strengthen our integrity. Group yourselves into smaller groups good enough for each member to share. Answer the following questions: i. What things do I allow to occur that hinder me from becoming a person with integrity? ii. Why do I allow them to persist if I know they hinder me from becoming all God wants me to be? iii. How and when shall I face this and being the process of change? b. Do you have an accountability partner? An accountability partner is someone who you tell all your struggles and victories so that you will be responsible for your actions. And he will continually pray for you. If you don’t have one today, think of someone who could become your accountability partner, perhaps someone older and spiritually mature. Decide to meet regularly with your partner for prayer and fellowship. Responding to the call a. Pray specifically about your own integrity. Ask the Lord to show you ways to implement your desires. Be accountable to at least one other person.

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Bibliography

Swindoll, Charles. Strengthening Your Grip: How to Live Confidently in an Aimless World. U.S.A.: W Publishing Group, 1998.