We All Live in Four Different Worlds

Dr. O.S. Hawkins, President, Guidestone Financial Resources

“So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him” (Daniel 6:4 NKJV).

We will begin finding our way through a culture that has lost its way when we begin to realize that each of us lives simultaneously in four very distinct spheres of life and therefore influence.



You live in a private world. There is a part of your existence that no one else ever enters. Not even those closest to you — not your husband or wife or best friend — live in your private world and know your secret and private thoughts. No one goes there. No one enters your private world except you — and the God who placed in you DNA like no one else on the planet. He is the only One who searches your heart and knows all your private thoughts.



You also live in a personal world. You share this sphere of life with only a small circle of intimate family members and perhaps a few friends who truly know you well. This is a small world. It only consists of the very few people who know who you really are behind closed doors.



These concentric circles of life widen: you also live in a professional world. This broader world contains scores, perhaps hundreds, of people who know you in a professional setting. You interact in this world every day at the office, on the job, at school, and in the social and civic arena.



Finally, you live in a public world, the widest sphere of influence where people form opinions of you for good or for bad. In this world are people who may not know you professionally, much less personally, and for certain not privately. Yet when they hear your name mentioned, they have an opinion about you. Some often refer to this person you are in this world as your public persona.


Keep these four worlds in mind as we consider why so many people in our modern culture live with so little integrity.


Integrity’s roots

fourA lot of us are confused as to which world is most important for engaging our culture as Daniel did his so successfully. We have all witnessed individuals who seek to mask their lack of integrity by attempting to portray a positive public image. They hire public relations gurus and touch up their photos in an attempt to be seen as something they truly might not be. However, in this professional world with its daily dealings, a lack of integrity becomes a bit more difficult to disguise.

Then, once we get home in the evening and shut the door, it is virtually impossible to keep up the act around those who know us best. Many parents have lost their kids to the culture because they saw their mom or dad be one way in the public and professional world, but someone quite different in the personal arena of life. Then, in our private world, alone with God Himself, the jig is up: there is absolutely no hiding anything from Him.

This brings us to an important intersection and a defining question: Where is integrity rooted? Some seem to think it is rooted in the public world, so they are busy spinning their image into the personal personas they want people to see. But integrity is not rooted in the public life. Its presence — or its absence — is only revealed there. Ultimately, our behaviors in our public world will reveal for all to see whether we are men and women of integrity.

Some argue that integrity is rooted in the professional setting, and it seems to make sense. After all, this is where we deal with others in business. Thus, some say it is here in the professional world where integrity takes root. Our integrity, however, is not rooted in the professional world, but it can be reinforced there by our determined and disciplined efforts to deal honorably with people in our professional settings.

Then — and we are getting closer to integrity’s roots — there are those who say integrity is rooted in the intensely close relational dynamics of our personal world, where we’re alone with those who know us best. This possibility seems logical, but integrity is not rooted in the personal world. It is simply reflected in our relationships with those who know us best. If you want to know if I have integrity, you should ask my wife or my kids. They are the ones who know me better than anyone else in the world. 

So, by process of elimination and the principles of logic, we find that integrity is rooted in the private world, that part of us that is alone with God, that part of us that will live as long as God lives, which is forever. And when integrity has established its deep, strong roots in our private world, it will be reflected in our personal world. Our own family and our closest friends will see reflected in our personal relationships the integrity that flows from our deeper private life. Then, as our influence widens to our professional world, our honest dealings with others — what we say and how we act — will reinforce the standard of integrity we choose to live by. Ultimately, our integrity will be revealed for God’s own glory in our public world.

To summarize, integrity is conceived in the private world, birthed in the personal world, grows in the professional world, and matures in the public world. In Daniel’s life, we can see how these four worlds formed the foundation of Daniel’s interests and influence and enabled him to make a huge impact on his pagan culture. 


Taken from The Daniel Code by O.S. Hawkins. Copyright © 2016 by Dr. O.S. Hawkins. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. O. S. Hawkins has served pastorates, including the First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, for more than 25 years. For a quarter of a century, he served as president of GuideStone Financial Resources. He is the author of more than 40 books and regularly speaks to business groups and churches all across the nation. All of the author’s royalties go to support Mission:Dignity.org.

Read more articles by Dr. O.S. Hawkins at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/author/o-s-hawkins/

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