“Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.” Daniel 10:12, NLT
To live in the kingdom of heaven here on earth is not a sightseeing tour nor a pilgrimage in the Holy Land. It is to follow the hero’s journey of Jesus Christ. The Good News is that Jesus is our spiritual hero who lived, died and rose from the dead to show us the divinity that lies within us. The stories in the bible are powerful images to open our minds to the reality of the kingdom of heaven. They are to encourage us to seek the kingdom of heaven in a dark and broken world.
But there are evil forces that are keeping us out of the kingdom of heaven. It is a spiritual battle to lift our hearts to God to seek Him with a humble and total love. We need to let go of anything that distracts us from God and to give ourselves over entirely to God’s pleasure:
“Saints and angels rejoice when you do this and hasten to help you forward. The evil ones are furious, however, and will try in every way to deflect you. But the whole of mankind, in a most mysterious and wonderful way, will be helped by your action.”1
We need to persevere by learning to wait on God in prayer. During the reign of King Cyrus of Persia, Daniel fasted for 3 weeks in mourning after he received a vision of times of war and great hardship in the future. He then received a terrifying vision of “a man dressed in linen with a belt of pure gold around his waist. His body looked like a precious gem. His face flashed like lightning, and his eyes flamed like torches. His arms and feet shone like polished bronze, and his voice roared like a vast multitude of people.”2 The man assured Daniel that he had come in answer to Daniel’s prayer:
“Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.”3
The man told him that he had been fighting the spirit prince of the Kingdom of Persia and had received help from Michael, one of the archangels. But he had to return to fight against the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia who will be followed by the spirit prince of the kingdom of Greece.4
The story of Daniel inspires us to grow in our character through our problems and trials. We develop endurance and endurance develops strength of character. Daniel was looking forward to the hope of salvation but we have the confident hope of salvation when the Holy Spirit fills our hearts with the love of God.5 We will have trials and sorrows in this life but Jesus has overcome the world.6 To help us find meaning in life it is crucial to see our life in the context of our new life in Jesus Christ. Jesus conquered death so that we can live out the truth:
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”7
This is the destination of the hero’s journey. The journey involves becoming aware and taking captive of the enslaving thoughts, beliefs and attitudes that keep us from becoming the children of God. Uche Anizor found that our mindset is very critical to the vibrancy of our spiritual lives. If our minds are set on the things of the Spirit, we will experience abundant life and peace. However, if our minds are set on the things of the flesh, we will experience an inner hostility toward God.8
We need purpose and passion to embark on the hero’s journey – to pursue righteousness and unfailing love.9 To find meaning in suffering. To turn adversities into opportunities to develop endurance. To live in the rhythm of God’s loving embrace in the humdrum of life. To see dying as the greatest adventure of our lives – a journey from death to eternal life.
God is waiting for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth – we need the spirit of love to see others as God’s children in order to live out our true identity as a child of God. We need the wisdom of spiritual truths to balance our scientific knowledge. We become less human with more scientific knowledge when we do not see them as truths that God is revealing to us.10 Let us be like Daniel who outlived kings and outlast kingdoms by seeking the kingdom of God.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And His righteousness,
And all these things shall be added unto you.
Lord, help me to live the hero’s journey with the power of Your Holy Spirit.
1. What does it mean to live the hero’s journey?
2. What is keeping me from living the hero’s journey?
3. How is God leading me to a hero’s journey?
Song of Praise
Seek Ye First
1. The Cloud of Unknowing, edited by Halcyon Backhouse, page 23
2. Daniel 10:5-6, NLT
3. Daniel 10:12, NLT
4. Daniel 10:13-21, NLT
5. Romans 5:3-5,NLT
6. John 16:33, NLT
7. Galatians 2:20, ESV
8. Uche Anizor, Overcoming Apathy
9. Proverbs 21:21, NLT
10. Isaiah 48:6-7, NLT
11. Seek Ye First