An Excellent Spirit
Daniel 6:3— “Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.”
A PERSONAL DESIRE
This particular description of Daniel has always served to set a standard of godliness before my eyes. It is a goal that I desire to achieve. It is a goal that I desire to experience and display to others. The goal is to have an excellent spirit, even as Daniel had. Though Daniel was powerful, influential, and given great responsibility and prestige, he displayed an attitude of humility and control that I admire and desire in my own life. At the end of my journey, I would like others to say of me, “He had an excellent spirit.”
AN EXCELLENT SPIRIT DEFINED
An excellent spirit should be fairly simple to define. It is one in which the fruit of the Spirit— love, gentleness, patience, longsuffering, kindness, and wisdom—abounds. All of these and more make up the personality of a man or a woman with an excellent spirit.
Those with an excellent spirit are rarely ruffled in emergencies. They are faithful in a time of trial. They rejoice with those who are rejoicing. They have compassion upon those who are suffering. They are gentle and apt to teach others, yet, at the same time, are firm in regard to proper doctrine, and oppose and hate every false way. They are not easily insulted. Neither does promotion nor demotion affect them adversely. They are content with what they have been given, regardless of finances, position, or popularity. They are hard workers, faithful, consistent, and able to inspire others to do the same. They are not bound by religious law, but experience and follow Holy Spirit convictions.
In essence, they exhibit the spirit and the mind of Christ.
AN EXCELLENT SPIRIT REALIZED
A minister friend of mine once said, “They told me what to do, but they never told me how to do the what to do!” This statement is probably the experience of most Christians. We are being told what to do, but we’re never properly instructed as to how to accomplish the lofty demands set before us. We’re told what to do, but never told, in a manner true to biblical instruction, how that goal is to be accomplished.
So, if we have a desire for an excellent spirit, how is this desire achieved? How does it become a reality? The answer is simple, yet complex. The answer we are seeking is this: We can only be changed by the work of the Holy Spirit within our hearts. The Holy Spirit works in us as a result of our personal faith in the finished work of Christ.
A WORK OF THE SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit works exclusively within the framework of God’s redemption plan. That plan, as determined by God, was to send His Son into this world and become the sacrifice for all of man’s sin. Whosoever would believe in the Son would gain the benefits outlined by the Father.
The growth of a Christian occurs in the same way that the born-again experience occurs. At salvation, the one in need places his faith in the provision of God, and, as a result of that individual’s faith, God does something supernatural. At the moment of salvation, the work of the Holy Spirit produces regeneration.
In the process of sanctification, the Holy Spirit’s work purifies. Old habits, old loves, and old practices are eliminated, and new loves, new practices, and new habits are implanted. The Holy Spirit will only have the freedom and the latitude to work in us to the degree that we, as believers, allow Him to work. I need the fruit of the Spirit in order to exhibit the “excellent Spirit’ that Daniel did. To reach that goal, I must trust exclusively—daily—in the Cross of Christ. Faith in what Jesus accomplished for me on the Cross is sufficient to bring me the victory that I desire.
TWO DISTINCT EXPERIENCES
The power of the Holy Spirit is the veritable lifeblood of the believer. There is no greater companion, no greater power source, and no greater source of comfort than the person of the Holy Spirit. He’s not just a secondary substitute for the absence of a physical Jesus. He is our promised Comforter, our continual guide, and an unwavering sanctifying agent.
While He is associated with wind, oil, or water, He is none of these. He is, in fact, the third person of the triune Godhead, living on the inside of every truly born-again believer. At salvation, the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the person of Christ, where victory over sin originated.
But there is also an opportunity for every believer to have Jesus immerse them into the person of the Holy Spirit. This is a second subsequent work of God’s grace available after the salvation experience and brings power for service, supernatural gifts, and helps us in the never-ending challenge of dying to self. Jesus had the Spirit without measure. We can have His presence in our lives to whatever degree we desire.
These two experiences—received, understood, and embraced—are what produces an excellent spirit in the human being.