I’ve talked to a few people recently who feel they are struggling spiritually. They feel they are just going through the motions. They are believers; that is, they believe that Jesus, the Son of God, died for their sins, and they’ve accepted the gift of salvation. However, their spiritual life has no real life to it. It’s blase and lacks any vibrancy at all.
They read their Bible, but not consistently, and their infrequent devotion time with God is dry and barren. Their prayer-life is virtually non-existent, and any prayers seemingly hit a glass ceiling. Lastly, going to church is a chore. It’s something they do because they know they should, but they would rather be virtually anywhere else on a Sunday morning. And for the most part, they ARE anywhere else; they haven’t been back to church in quite a few weeks.
This isn’t what they want. They desire more. They want a spiritual life that is alive, and where God speaks and answers prayer, and where they experience God’s power – spiritual power – in their lives to live victoriously.
Does any of this sound familiar? It does to me. I’ve been there. Many times. I think we all have. So, how do we “snap” out of it? How do we turn our spiritual life around so it comes alive again?
I don’t know much, but I’ve come to realize that although we call it a “spiritual life”, it is not a “thing”; it is a relationship. It is a relationship with God. It is a relationship with Jesus. It is a relationship with the Holy Spirit. Not three relationships, but just one… with God. And like any relationship, if we choose to ignore it or neglect it or betray it, it will slowly (or not so slowly, with betrayal) wain or die out.
However, God is passionate in His pursuit of you. You are just what He’s looking for. You are just who he wants. And He will go to no end to have a relationship with you. And unlike human relationships, He will forgive you no matter what you’ve done and no matter how many times you’ve done it. He accepts you just as you are and loves you just as you are. He loves you just as much as He loves Mother Teresa or Billy Graham.
All you need to do is come back to Him.
It takes humility to come back. It requires saying that you’re sorry and that you want to do it differently this time. You have to tell Him this. You have to tell Him that you need His help. This is where it starts. God’s Word says,
For this is what the high and exalted One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite”(Isaiah 57:15)
This is where the spark is ignited.
Secondly, because it is a relationship, you have to nurture it. You need to start doing the things that bring you closer together, and stop doing the things that push you apart. Going back to church, where there is worship, where others are drawing close to God, where you will hear the Word of God spoken, the Good News proclaimed, and where like-minded folks are pursuing the same relationship will help you. As Rick Warren says, “You were formed for fellowship.” You need other believers in your life, for encouragement, for friendship, and for accountability.
You need to begin rekindling your prayer-life and Bible-reading. This is so crucial. This is where the relationship blossoms. Start small and slowly grow it into a time you can’t live without. But you must start. Even if it seems dry and lifeless, continue doing it – by faith. Tell God that it seems dry. Tell Him that you’re going to continue to ask, seek, and knock, because He promises to answer… He promises that you will find Him… and He promises that the door will be opened. Be persistent. Be relentless in your pursuit of the relationship.
Lastly, treasure this time with God. Guard it. It is the most important time of every day, whether it’s done in the morning or evening. You will find that it’s not just the morning or evening that He will be with you, but throughout every moment of every day.
For me, it was hard to realize that this time devoted to God is not just another thing on my To-Do List. It’s not another thing that I need to get done to make me feel better about myself (or think that God will feel better about me). It was a way to nurture the relationship, to get to know God better. It’s a way for me to yield more and more of my life to Him, and have His life lived through me more and more.
But as God says through the prophet Isaiah in the Scripture above, it begins with a humble and contrite heart. That is the starting point for revival.