Posts Tagged ‘Sustaining change’
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, was the most powerful leader in the known world and he knew it. God had established his position to bring His judgment on Judah and several other nations, but had not authorized his values that included extreme brutality or his personal pride. God gave Nebuchadnezzar a dream to help him understand the source of power and authority. God even sent His servant Daniel to interpret his dream and clearly explain that God wanted him to change his inner most beliefs so that his behavior could change. The dream got Nebuchadnezzar’s attention and he was a changed man for awhile, but change is only permanent when the value or truth behind the behavior is changed.
Nebuchadnezzar was frightened by his dream but that fear wasn’t sufficient to change his inner-deeper-secret beliefs concerning his personal values. According to verse 29, “Twelve months later… he said, ‘Is not this the great Babylon I have built as a royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?’” The temporary changes from the fear caused by the dream didn’t last and Nebuchadnezzar fell back into old attitudes.
Any leader who doesn’t learn from failure won’t lead effectively for very long but if they merely correct a behavior that led to the failure and don’t deal with the core truth behind the behavior, they have only completed part of the learning process. Nebuchadnezzar needed to deal with both his proud behavior and his self-honoring values that caused the behavior. Because Nebuchadnezzar refused to heed God’s warning about pride, God threw him into seven years of mental illness and taught him the value of humility. That lesson caused Nebuchadnezzar to change his deepest core truths concerning where power and influence came from and how he was to use his power.
Leadership requires change and growth. Often leaders see the needed change and start the process of change, but sustaining change can be much more difficult. The reason change is difficult to sustain, like Nebuchadnezzar in today’s scripture, once the temporary stimulus for change is forgotten the core truth returns to dominate attitudes and behavior. To make change permanent the core truth driving the behavior must change.
Have you made several attempts to change destructive behavior but each time returned to the old behavior? Have you made promises to yourself and others that you consistently have broken and feel like there is no choice but to live with the shame of these broken promises? Are you afraid to even consider another run at making a change you know would be good for your team and family? Take courage, real change is possible. Wise leaders examine the definitions and attitudes that let them think their destructive behavior is acceptable. They adjust the deeply held internal truths that authorized them to live with the problematic behavior. Nebuchadnezzar did, there is a great end to the story in verses 36-37.