Summary: This message is a great tool for personal spiritual evaluation.
Time for a Spiritual Tune-Up
Once, when the people of God had become careless in their relationship with Him, the Lord rebuked them through the prophet Haggai.
Haggai 1:5 (NIV)
5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways.”
The temple was the focal point of Judah’s relationship with God, but it was still demolished. Instead of rebuilding the temple, the people had been putting their energies into beautifying their own homes. But the harder the people worked for themselves, the less they had, because they ignored their spiritual lives.
So Haggai urged the people to reflect on some of the things happening to them and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had told them.
It is a good thing to pause and think about the direction of our lives from time to time. The beginning of a new year provides a wonderful opportunity to do exactly that. It is a healthy practice for every one of us.
No matter who you are, no matter how long you have served the Lord, I believe this type of introspection, examination and reflection is a good thing.
It’s so easy to wonder along through life, from one busy week to another, without ever stopping to think about where we’ve been, where we’re going and what we are doing.
The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look to the Lord and refocus our lives. Opportunities like this help us center our lives and regain a healthy perspective. It is a good time to recalibrate our spiritual lives.
Most of us reassess certain aspects of our lives at the beginning of the year. We talk about things like breaking habits, losing weight, or making other changes in our lives.
One woman walked into the bathroom on New Year’s Day and she found her husband weighing himself on the bathroom scales. She noticed he was sucking in his stomach.
The woman thought to herself, "He thinks that he will weigh less by sucking in his stomach." She stood there watching him for a moment, then she rather sarcastically said, "Sucking in is not going to help." To which her husband replied, "Sure it does. It’s the only way I can see the scale."
This morning I am challenging you to an important assessment at the beginning of the New Year. I want to invite you to do an intentional spiritual tune up.
I’m going to give you some questions to ponder prayerfully in the presence of God.
My hope is that this spiritual diagnostic could help make 2009 a year of intentional spiritual growth. It could actually be a catalyst for positive change in your life.
But first, let’s talk about why people don’t grow spiritually.
The reason people don’t grow spiritually is…
1) They have no plan for growth.
Spiritual growth is not automatic. If it was there would be a lot more spiritually mature people in the church. If spiritual growth was automatic, the strongest Christians would be those who were believers the longest. But that is clearly not always the case.
Spiritual growth must be intentional. You need to plan for it.
You say you want to grow? That’s great! Now, tell me how that will happen.
2) They are unwilling to pay the price for growth.
There is a price to pay for spiritual growth. You will have to determine if you are willing to pay the price, to make the sacrifice, or to become more disciplined in order to reach the desired objective.
3) They have not evaluated the need for growth.
That’s what I am asking you to do today. With the Old Testament Prophet Haggai, I am asking you to “give careful thought to your ways.” I want to invite you to explore these Questions to Consider at the Threshold of 2009.
1. How would I rate my relationship with God? ______
Whenever I meet with a couple that is struggling in their relationship, I often ask them to rate their marriage on a scale from 1-10. One is poor and 10 would be the absolute best. Most couples immediately know where they rate (although the guys are usually higher than the ladies). I guess that is because the wives are a little more realistic and guys are often in the dark. We’re oblivious. The only thing I can figure is that it must be the testosterone. I have heard it causes brain damage. Who knows?
What’ interesting to me is how people can easily describe what a marriage that is a 10 looks like. So my next question is, if your marriage is a 6 on a scale from 1-10, what is it going to take to make it a 10? That’s a simple exercise with profound implications.