We put ‘check engine’ warning indicators on a car’s dashboard to tell us that something in the engine needs attention. We put mileage stickers on our windshields to let us know that our engine oil needs a change. A low fuel warning light informs us that we need to be in search of a gas station. Nurses respond to a loud ‘beep’ that lets them know that an IV line is kinked or in need of attention. An annoying ‘ding’ reminds us to buckle our seat belt, turn off our lights, retrieve the key from the ignition or close our car door. The voice in our GPS tells us to turn around or recompute our route. 🙂
But, how do we know that our spiritual life needs attention and renewal? There are no buzzers, blinking lights or annoying human voices. But there are indications that we should give attention to our spiritual condition. And some of those indicators can be identified by looking at the life experience of King Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel.
We can tell we need renewal when…
1. Our spiritual desire is only for TEMPORARY RELIEF. In Daniel 2, we find the King traumatically troubled by a dream—and it wasn’t the chile relleno he had for supper. 🙂 So vexed was his soul that he was ready to kill all the wise men of the area if they couldn’t tell him the content of the dream AND its meaning. God enabled Daniel to do both and the men were saved and the king was satisfied. BUT, by Daniel 3, the king was ordering an idol to be cast and worshiped by everyone in Babylon. Certainly, his temporary relief did him little good. Sometimes we only want God to make our life easier. That does us little good, because it is only temporary relief and not real growth.
2. Our RELIGIOUS EXERCISES are substituted for AUTHENTIC SPIRITUALITY. If we only went by appearances, King Nebuchadnezzar’s words recorded in Daniel 2:47 would seem to suggest that he had had a ‘real’ experience with God. But, sadly, that wasn’t the case as we see the king saying words about God WHILE he ‘fell on his face and paid homage to Daniel’. Think of it. His words were about God but his actions showed that he worshiped a man. It is amazing to hear words about God these days while so much ‘to do’ is made about ‘hipster’, ‘relevant’ or ‘successful’ pastors who fly around in jets and live lavishly off the flock. One Texas mega church pastor recently told his church that if they had REAL faith that they would write down their bank account’s access code, give it to the church and then let the church withdraw what it THOUGHT they should give. Really? (I wouldn’t have believed this one unless I had seen and heard him say it on his broadcast.)
3. Our TOLERANCE for FALSE WORSHIP exceeds our desire for TRUE WORSHIP. The king was willing to worship an idol if he could still control the masses. When that didn’t completely work, he sinned further by trying to kill three of his most Godward focused leaders by throwing them into a blazing fire. Daniel 3:1-23. It’s puzzling to watch, these days, so much compromise in worship that is tolerated so long as the masses of worshipers are satisfied and keep attending the church. Church leaders hear their people say that they don’t really believe the ‘six days of creation’ truth of scripture, to which the leaders say ‘no problem. Just believe what feels right to you’. Look what’s being tolerated.
4. Our leaders are more concerned with ‘BODIES, BUDGETS and BUILDINGS’ than they are with HUMILITY. Daniel 4:28-30 gives us a glimpse of King Nebuchadnezzar’s pride. He says about himself, ‘I have built great Babylon by MY mighty power for the glory of MY majesty’. WOW! No sooner had he said that than God caused him to become like an ox or beast of the field. He existed like an animal for 7 years, at which time God granted him humility and the curse was lifted and he was restored. Inevitably, pastors conversations at meetings with each other and about each other almost always involve the questions, ‘How big is your church?’ or How much is your budget?’ or ‘How big is your campus’ or ‘How many campuses do you have now?’. It’s all kind of intimidating, especially when you are among pastors of mega churches. But, I wonder if we’re being wise when we equate size and true spiritual success.
The lessons continue, but this is enough to alert us to the need for renewal. And to help meet that need, we have planned a Renewal meeting beginning tomorrow night at 7pm. It is our desire to have you come and be with us as we seek God for true spiritual growth.
Let’s be a people who, at all costs, seek God in sincerity and truth out of a pure heart.