Summary: No matter where we are in life, we should always be spiritually fit and healthy. But some have spiritual flab that needs to be dealt with.
A Healthy Spiritual Life
Griffith Baptist Church – 2/24/08
Text: Daniel 1:3-15
Key verse: Daniel 1:8 - But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
Erma Bombeck’s advice is to never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.
1. Daniel and his three friends are going through a lot that could make them compromise
A. They have been selected for special service in the court of a heathen king (flattery) – 3-4
B. They are given a special diet and training for this service (brainwashing) – 4-5
C. Their names are changed (re-identification) – 7
i. Daniel (God is my judge) – Belteshazzar (the treasure of Bel)
ii. Hananiah (the Lord has been gracious to me) – Sharach (The inspiration of the sun)
iii. Mishael (He who comes from God) – Meshach (he who belongs to the goddess Sheshach)
iv. Azariah (The Lord is my Helper) – Abed-Nego (the servant of Nego or Nebo)
2. Daniel and company had to make a determination what they were going to do
3. They had to decide how far they were going to cave in
4. What was best for their spiritual health and well-being?
Transitional Statement: We, too, are faced with decisions in life that can affect our spiritual well-being. What can Daniel teach about keeping or making our spiritual life healthy and satisfying?
1. The Essential of a Healthy Spiritual Life
A. Sense of Belonging – (verse 3 - certain of the children of Israel)
i. Belonging to the Lord (closeness to the Lord)
a. Intimate fellowship with God
b. Assurance of salvation
ii. Belonging to the church
a. A place we can serve
b. A haven of rest
c. A sanctuary of acceptance
iii. Belonging to each other (a spiritual family and a closeness with each other) – S.A.I.L.
B. Strength for Living – (verse 8 – he [Daniel] would not defile himself)
i. Ability to obey
ii. Ability to overcome
C. Stability in Serving – (verse 9 – brought Daniel into favor and tender love)
i. Unwavering service (does not topple over and fall down)
ii. Unbiased service (everyone is equally treated as we would treat the Lord)
iii. Undeterred service (steadfastness even in the midst of mountainous obstacles)
D. Success in Testing – (verse 15 – at the end of ten days their countenances were more fairer)
i. Some men think they have made a success of life when all they have made is money.
ii. Race car driver Bill Vukovich won the famed Indianapolis 500 race in 1953 and 1954, a record of success few other drivers had matched.
Asked the secret of his success in Indianapolis, Vukovich replied, ’There’s no secret. You just press the accelerator to the floor and steer left." Today in the Word, February 17, 1993
iii. Trials of faith
a. Satan will try to discourage your faith
b. The World will try and destroy your faith
c. The flesh will try and derail your faith
iv. Trials of service
d. Nobody seems to be listening
v. Trials of health
vi. Trials of a personal nature
Transitional Statement: Now that we understand why we need to have a healthy spiritual life we need to understand how to have a healthy spiritual life.
2. The Elements of a Healthy Spiritual Life
A. Exercise to Stay Spiritually Fit – (8 - purposed in His heart)
i. Exercise means to actively pursue God and His Word and determine to live for Him
ii. Exercise to improve testimony (Paul) – Acts 24:16 – And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
iii. Exercise to instill godliness – 1 Timothy 4:7-8 – 7But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 8For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
iv. Exercise to improve discernment – Hebrews 5:14 - But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
B. Eat Right to Stay Spiritually Well – (12 - let them give us pulse to eat and water to drink)
i. To eat right is to take in what nourishes us and helps our life to work right
ii. The food of God’s Word – Jeremiah 15:16 - 16Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. and Psalms 19:10 - More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.