By Chaplain (Maj.) Darren ChesterSeptember 28, 2016
FORT BENNING, Ga., (Sept. 28, 2016) -- Daniel did well as a servant of King Nebuchadnezzar in the ancient kingdom of Babylon. He had served the king faithfully for more than 30 years. But as time passed, Nebuchadnezzar died, and the kingdom of Babylon weakened. In time it was conquered by a different kingdom - the kingdom of Medo-Persia. Daniel survived this overthrow and lived to serve the new king, Cyrus. King Cyrus eventually made Daniel the ruler over a portion of his kingdom. In fact, King Cyrus had determined to put Daniel over the whole nation as the prime minister!
But there were those in the kingdom who believed that this person, a Jewish exile from Jerusalem, had no business ruling in the Medo-Persian Empire and were plotting how they might depose him. At first, they looked for some flaw in Daniel's character. But his character was above reproach. There was not a hint of fraud, waste or abuse in the discharge of his duties.
Let me ask you this question: if someone wanted to depose you, could they find something wrong with your character? Where would the kink be in your armor? Is there any shortcoming in the way you carry out your duties that if known would be a reason for you to be fired?
Resiliency comes from living a life based on values, and living a life based on values builds impregnable character! How does building a life of character increase resiliency? It is like having a strong foundation for your house.
Before I was assigned to Fort Benning, I was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. I lived off post and to get to post most days, I would head down Tiny Town Road. About halfway to post there was a new housing development. It looked nice, but the very first house in the development was falling down. Something was wrong with the foundation on the back side of the house and the whole back side was sinking down into the ground. This house looked great when it was first built, but over time, as gravity applied its unending force, the weakened foundation gave way and the house began to fall down.
Our lives are like that house. In this world, forces will work to bring us down low, like gravity. And the only way to stay standing strong is to build a strong foundation of character.
The word "character" comes from the Greek "karakter" which means "engraved mark." It was first used to refer to the mark a brick maker would engrave on his bricks. Character can thus be seen as the marks that life leaves on our soul. Our character today is composed of the total of all of our experiences and all of our responses to those experiences. But that also means that a day from now, a week from now ... a year from now ... a decade from now ... our character will be different. More marks will have been left on our lives. And these marks, these temptations, these struggles, they can either weaken or strengthen our character based on our response.
We can't do a whole lot about our experiences, the things that happen to us. But we can do a great deal about how we respond. My friend, how will you respond today? If your foundation has a crack in it, will your choices today and tomorrow serve to repair the crack, or make it worse?
Daniel's life was built on a strong foundation of character. The men who wanted to see him brought down could not find one small hint of corruption. In the end, they had to contrive a way to have him removed. But even that couldn't keep Daniel down. You can read about it in Daniel, chapter 6.