"Hitting the Spiritual Wall" - 2012/11/29 - KLpending
Years ago, and I mean like 15 or 20 years ago, I hit a spiritual wall of sorts. I had been experiencing what lost of Christians refer to as a "Spiritual High," many of you know what I'm talking about. Then all of a sudden, it seemed like everything got harder. Praying and Bible study became a chore if I did it at all. Somewhere along the way I was given a copy of My Utmost for His Highest
by Oswald Chambers. And one day during one of my readings something he wrote put everything in perspective. The only problem is, I cannot for the life of me remember the page where I read it. So, I don't have an exact quote, but I remember the feeling of relief that someone else understood and experienced the same struggle I faced.
This phenomena of hitting the spiritual wall seems to come and go in my life and probably yours as well. Here are a few signs you have hit the spiritual wall.
1. Conviction loses strength.
Hitting the spiritual wall always comes with a weakening of our convictions. Our resolve for certain truths, principles or even morals fades or weakens. Sometimes it even feels like we just don't care anymore. This can happen so subtly you barely notice until you catch yourself considering a compromise that you know you disagree with. It happens much like the way the paint on your house fades and chips away until one day you realize its time to get a fresh coat of paint. Somehow the weathering of time strips away the beauty and brightness once there. This happens to our convictions. It is not uncommon for us to catch ourselves stumbling in areas we thought we had overcome. Our grip on our convictions begins to slip. When you sense your convictions losing strength it's time to move to action.
2. Spiritual disciplines become inconsistent.
Some of the simple spiritual disciplines that produce the healthy soil for God's word to grow and thrive in our lives become inconsistent. Over time the soil of our souls becomes dry and barren. Disciplines that were once effortless like reading your Bible or prayer feels like a chore. You open the Bible and stare hoping God speaks loud and fast so you can move on. Your prayers slowly become all about you and you rarely have time to pray for others. The more challenging spiritual disciplines like fasting or times of solitude aren't even on the radar. Spiritual disciplines should never be mistaken for our relationship with God. However, when I away with my wife for a night out or weekend away this simple act creates the intentionality and focus that allows relationship to thrive. This is similar to how spiritual disciplines work. They create the space and time to intentionally relate with God. When these become inconsistent or non-existent, its time to move to action.
3. Attitude becomes cold, critical and caustic.
So much of Christianity focuses us on our behaviors, yet we often fail to give our attitudes the proper attention. When you hit the spiritual wall your attitude suffers. Instead of an attitude that reflects a the love and grace of Jesus and the hope from His resurrection we become cold, critical and caustic. We find ourselves keeping people at arms-length. We are constantly critical of people. Instead of believing the best first we believe the worst first. We speak harshly and call it "speaking the truth" yet forgetting the love that should always surround truth. I believe this reveals our own feelings of insecurity or inadequacy and we deflect those feelings by pointing them out in others. Its the classic case of pointing out the bad in others to take the spotlight off of us. Think about your attitude are you cold, critical and caustic? If so, it's time to take action.
Ok, it's time to take action. James 4:8-10 "8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."
James prescribes 3 actions:
1. "Come near to God"
My application here is to take action by reading the Bible regularly but without heavy expectations and attending a healthy church to surround myself with God's people. When we hit the wall it's very hard to do much else. This is why we need the people of God to represent God in our lives.
2. "Grieve, mourn and wail"
We must acknowledge our sinfulness before God. If you aren't sure what sins you have committed lately, just ask God or someone your trust. Hitting the spiritual wall causes us to feel numb to our sin, we may have to confess it in our minds before we can feel it in our hearts. I'm a big fan of confessing to a trusted person because it adds some accountability, it makes it real. Yes, you can confess only to God, but there is great health and freedom in the act of "confessing your sin one to another. (James 5:16)"
3. "Humble yourself"
Humility is often misunderstood as something God does for us when in fact, we are to actively choose humility. Another way scripture says it is, "clothe yourselves in humility. (1 Peter 5:5)" Humility is coming back to the reality that God is almighty and you are not. It is recognizing how needy you are for Him. The promise is that God is drawn to the humble. I believe God can and will restore the joy of your salvation.
I hope this encourages you. Please share with someone who needs to be encouraged by this post. Thanks!
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