At a deeper level they are full of pride. And when someone talks themselves up in a theological sense they are talking God's role down. In summary, they get the glory, not God. This is the heart of the term we call sin: Believing we are "gods" and pushing the one true God aside.
Reading Daniel chapter 4 is a testimony written by King Nebuchadnezzar. He is writing to explain the wonders the Most High God has performed in his life (verses 2, 17, 37). And like good testimonies there is a before and after.
The before shows a King full of pride: verse 30 "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty." And just like a footy team or politician that gets a bit full of themselves, God humbles Big Neb. He is reduced from being a human (made in the image of God) to be like the beasts of the field.
Eyes opened (by God)
The amazing thing is his eyes are opened by the Lord. Just as Jesus opened the physical (and spiritual eyes) of the blind, it is the Lord who restores Neb's eyes so he can praise God. Have a look at the template for his (and our) salvation. Chapter 4 vss 25 and 33-34 explain the steps.
1. He will be humbled by being driven away from relationships with people to live like an animal
2. Seven times will pass by (seven being a hugely symbolic number pointing to God's perfect number i.e. in God's perfect timing He will open his eyes). This is an important point because Neb, as "like a beast," could not have the intellect to assesses the situation and make a decision for God. Even when he is at this point to praise God he does so as a gift from God. As the Apostle Paul explains we are spiritually DEAD, unable to save ourselves. We are only made alive when the Holy Spirit stirs our hearts to respond to Jesus as Lord.
3. His sanity "was restored" (passive term showing it as a gracious gift). He acknowledges the Most High as ruler of all (including his own life), giving Him the glory
The Heart of a Testimony
This is the heart of someone's testimony: that Jesus gets the glory. When some one hears your testimony you want them to leave saying, "isn't his/her God amazing" not "isn't he/she really smart to please God like that." In the end Neb understands that God gets all the glory. It is not his own power or intellect that is highlighted in his testimony. It is the work of God that deserves full honor and credit.
The Bible tells Christians they should be ready to give their testimony about why they believe Jesus is the rescuer of humanity and why they follow Him. While Neb may not have known Jesus' name, he believed God's promise that the Most High would send someone to take away his sin forever. So how would you explain your faith? Some tips from Neb:
1. Talk about your separation from God. Call it pride, sin, ignoring God, whatever, we all fall short of God's perfect standard.
2. Explain this separation grieves God and means we don't experience the full life we should. In fact it means we will be separate from God's love forever.
3. Point to the way God did not leave you in this situation. You understand Jesus is God's rescue plan. Jesus is able to remove our sin for good and replace it with His perfect standard. That means we have a restored relationship with God.
4. The result is you are a new creation living as a follower of Jesus
5. Like Neb, why not write or YouTube your testimony for someone like your great grandchildren to hear in the future?
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at