Survival Principles #2

Making a Living vs. Making a Life


Lion’s Den Survival Principles is a series designed to help Christians thrive in the often hostile world of media and entertainment. The principles from Scripture, however, can apply to every situation where you find yourself in the midst of lions!

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Making a Living vs Making a Life

Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then, compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.”

So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days, they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food . . . . At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar . . . he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah . . . .
— Daniel 1:11-15,18 (NIV)

Pretty stunning, huh? Here we are two and a half millennia after Daniel lived and got tossed to the lions talking about him and the way he dealt with his morally hostile environment. We haven’t heard much about the Jewish guys who obeyed the king’s order not to pray to any other gods or, for that matter, their kin who did bow down to the image and avoided the fiery furnace. Nonnegotiable virtue has a way of making one memorable in morally hostile environments like Babylon, Hollywood, and other pagan venues!

Survival Principle: Remember that your life is not your career; your life is your character and your quality relationships. 

When faced with making “career points” by eating food that violated Jewish law, Daniel made it clear that his moral convictions were more important to him than career success. The one-hundred-people-for-every-job pressure in the entertainment industry and the high financial and personal payoff for “professional success” create constant pressure to believe that “making it in the industry” is everything. It isn’t. A prominent executive in a media corporation told me years ago, “I’ve spent all of my life getting to the top of the ladder, and now I am afraid it’s leaning against the wrong wall.”

I just learned that the head of a major TV syndication company experienced having his wife take his kids from him and move to the Midwest, because they never saw him anyway. He worked around the clock for so many years making a living that he missed out on living.

Survival Principle: Whether you ”make it” or not, life will go on.

Whether you get your break or not, life will go on. Your career can bomb, but character and quality relationships will enable you to live. Your career can soar, but it will not bring fulfillment if you’ve sold your soul or destroyed your relationships with God and family.

Survival Principle: Never curry favor. Trust God to grant or withdraw it.

The media environment is rife with vain praise, flattery, boot licking, and duplicitous relationships all calculated to procure favor. “Be sincere whether you mean it or not” seems to be a Hollywood approach.

A search of the Scriptures makes it clear that it is God who gives favor; it is God who withdraws it. Being graciously authentic and honest, even when it doesn’t seem to be winning friends and influencing people, is always the best approach. Proverbs declares, “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies live at peace with Him.” (Proverbs 16:7)

Survival Principle: Those who trust the Lord to give favor get ahead farther and faster. Those who curry favor are ultimately despised and ridiculed as weak, untrustworthy, and lacking in integrity. 

The success of any work of God is built on this principle. I’ve watched God give favor with some of America’s most powerful media power brokers. I’ve also watched Him withdraw it on a few occasions. So be it. God will sustain His will, His work, and His way as we trust Him to open doors to people’s hearts. Trying to pry them open never ultimately works.


Like to have the entire cLions Den Coverollection of Dr. Poland’s words of wisdom from the book of Daniel?  Then purchase “Lion’s Den Survival Principles” (the book) with 25 chapters and 58 survival principles.  Order for $11.00 including shipping and handling from 330 Sixth Street, Redlands, CA 92374, or call 800-552-1248 to order.





This post has 1 Comment

  1. john provost on Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Yes thank you for this biblicial widom. Please pray for me as I shop my script, “Luke Acts with Enthusiasm”.

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