Hows Your Check Engine Light?
Your Heart Matters:
During my early years of ministry, I was a spiritual loser. I knew the Bible because I had attended Bible college and grew up in a church plant. Ministry was literally in my DNA and I often made the joke that “I was bred for this.” But after my first five years of full-time ministry, I found myself treating the Bible as a textbook and not a Divine love letter. I forced myself to pray because Sunday kids ministry and Sunday night youth ministry depended upon my effectiveness. I forced myself to work 60 + hours a week without others seeing because If I could just do more, reach more, and be more effective it was better for God’s kingdom and supported my value.
I didn’t intend to live my life disconnected from God. It just resulted from doing ministry and being ignorant about what was happening in my heart. By the end of my fifth year in full-time ministry, I literally felt “I was using the bible and my faith to prostitute myself for a paycheck.” Thankfully I didn’t do anything to disqualify myself from ministry, but I wasn’t spiritually qualified to be a spiritual leader. I became the poster child of doing ministry at the expense of being God’s person.
Instead of coming to my senior Pastor and being open and honest about my spiritual condition, I resigned. I felt like a complete failure. Week to week I was encouraging kids to follow Jesus, but I was far from Him. This sent me on almost a two-year journey of isolation from the ministry stage, but it was the best thing for myself and my family. It was during this private time that the Lord not only forgave me but affirmed His call on my life. I learned how to slow down and set healthy boundaries before exploding. I can confidently challenge you to do whatever it takes to make things right with the Lord.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” (Proverbs 4:23 NLT)
Doug Fields writes “Don’t believe the lie that you’ll get over it. Do something soon! It’s imperative that you frequently check your spiritual condition and deal with problems at the first sign. If the leader’s spirituality isn’t a top priority, your youth ministry, kids ministry, or any department you oversee, will never be healthy.”
So how can we tell that our spiritual engine check light is on? Here are some signs that indicate an absence of passion, a hardening of heart, a loss of spiritual growth, and a move toward spiritual disconnection.
8 Signs Your Spiritual Check Light Engine Is On:
- Loss Of Passion – You no longer get excited about God, His Word, or your ministry. The outside activities or your hobbies no longer interest you.
- Physical Fatigue – You’re constantly running on E and ready to sleep for the night the moment you get home from work.
- Prayer Vacuum – It’s been a long time since you experienced meaningful prayer.
- Life Is Too Easy – Our spiritual journey usually has tension and temptation. Struggle is necessary for growth, a muscle without tension doesn’t develop. Maybe you’re ignoring the conviction of the Holy Spirit in your life?
- Life Is Too Hard – You feel alone like your handling life by yourself.
- Spiritual Skimming – Your teaching is a reflection of your spiritual depth. Light and fluffy is a sign of absence study and alone time with the Lord.
- Relational Conflict – We all have conflict thats normal, but what isn’t normal for a healthy Christian is bitterness.
- Loss Of Awe – Everything in your life can be explained or understood.
God’s Response To The Check Engine Light:
Are any of these familiar to you? Have you ever experienced any of these warning signs? If so you only have two options, deny them or deal with them. Denial is easy because it puts off a problem, but it’s only adding fuel to the fire. But I want to encourage you with one simple point, It’s never too late to put the fire out.
Jesus said in Revelation 2:4-5 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.”
Can you remember the expectation you felt right before you went to church or read your Bible? That feeling of “I cant wait to see what God will do!” Go back to the basics of how you first fell in love with God. Don’t be prideful and label those feels as immature, thinking you’re too advanced for baby steps. The reality is we don’t always need more knowledge, but sometimes just a reminder to do what we already know.
I want you to hear this – Without God’s presences in your life churches are nothing more than country clubs with activities. God is most concerned about your heart. It’s the single most important gift you can offer Him, your family, and your church.
- Which personal warning signs do I identify with?
- Do I spend more time thinking about my job than focusing on Jesus?
- How would I teach others to stay spiritually fresh?
- Spend time with God now asking for His help to keep your heart in check