The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as a prophet. 1 Kings 19:15-16
At times, it is necessary to reboot a computer. Rebooting a computer involves shutting it down and then restarting it again. That process may feel like an “eternity” depending on the speed and the amount of memory available in the computer. Rebooting is sometimes necessary for system updates and after installing a software program or operating system updates.
Believers often need a spiritual reboot in their spiritual journey. That is a time when we are forced to be still, think and reflect on our kingdom assignment. This is usually a time when we feel burned-out and dispirited in doing God’s kingdom work. The symptoms of such burnout can include a decreasing appetite for prayer, preaching, serving, and ministering in any capacity. For some believers, this is a time when they question their call and wonder about their effectiveness in doing the great commission work of Jesus Christ.
The good news is that God knows when we need a spiritual reboot. The Lord does not mind shutting us down for a brief moment and restarting us again when He sees us struggling to maintain our spiritual focus and do His kingdom work with zeal and fervor. At times God can use an illness to shut us down. At other times, He may use unemployment, tiredness, or a thorn on our side as He did with Paul.
In today’s text, God uses Jezebel to force Elijah to be still so he can go through a spiritual reboot. When Elijah went into the desert, he thought he was just fleeing from Jezebel. Elijah sat under the broom tree and asked God to shut him down. He was tired of running from Jezebel. Unbeknown to Elijah, his desert experience was going to be used by God to give a reboot. Instead of being permanently decommissioned, Elijah was recommissioned to anoint Hazael as king over Aram, Jehu as king over Israel, and Elisha as a prophet to succeed him. God did a spiritual “system update” on Elijah if you will. The Lord increased Elijah’s power, He gave him a new attitude and gave him the credibility and authority to anoint two kings and train a new prophet.
God reboots us so He can greatly use us. All spiritual rebooting comes with increased spiritual power, zeal, faith, and passion for kingdom work. During a spiritual reboot, our flaws and weaknesses are exposed as well as our ungodly motives. A spiritual reboot exposes our false selves and forces us to look in the mirror and be honest with ourselves and God.
Many pastors go on a sabbatical when they sense the need for a reboot. Unfortunately, there is not an acceptable mechanism for non-clergy members to take the time necessary for their spiritual reboot. Regular churchgoers’ absence from church activities is often perceived as spiritual laziness. But if a believer senses that God is shutting them down so they can be rebooted, they should not hesitate to take a sabbatical for a spiritual reboot.
Elijah did not know just how badly he needed a spiritual reboot. By the time he made it to the desert, he was tired, hungry, discouraged, and frustrated. God sent an angel to give him food and water and allowed him to get some needed rest, before recommissioning him.
Perhaps, God wants to recommission you today, but you are so busy with so many things you are not sensing the need for your spiritual reboot. Just maybe, one of the reasons you are so frustrated with your friends and family or the people in your local church is because you need God to shut you down and restart you again. Remember, we are not judged by how much work we do because our best deeds are but filthy rags in the sight of God. It is our faithfulness and obedience that impresses God. So, if you sense that the Almighty wants to reboot you, let go and let God.
Questions for Personal Reflection
How do you know when it is time for a spiritual reboot?
What are the benefits of a spiritual reboot?
Prayer- Lord, I thank you for putting your strength in my weakness when I feel overwhelmed or burn-out. May your Holy Spirit enable me to endure your spiritual reboot without a decrease in my faith in you. Please increase my spiritual focus when I go through my spiritual desert so I can remain steadfast in doing the great commission work of Jesus Christ. Help me to know when I need to be still and wait for you to update my spiritual “systems” so I can operate at an optimum level as a kingdom worker.