I really feel stuck in my faith!
How many have felt that way before? I know I have, where there may even be activity— church attendance, volunteering and even praying, but not much happening inside. Kind of going through the motions. A lackluster faith that feels empty and even worse, pointless. So what causes seasons of inertia or seemingly feeling like we’re standing still?
Here are several areas of which we should be aware:
There, I said it. Opening ourselves up to the enemy’s schemes and lies which leads to sinful behavior can just level, or worse, devastate our spiritual lives. Though his ultimate defeat is assured, and his power over the believer is limited, the enemy of our souls can still influence us toward sin. Once he has gained some ground, that opens up the door for even more disobedience towards God, which is why Ephesians 4:27 tells us to “give no opportunity to the devil.” This leads to:
Neglecting our own spiritual well-being.
Not being consistent in the spiritual disciplines (Bible study and a regular, heart-felt prayer life) is a sure way to shift our faith lives into neutral. The problem is, people don’t stay in neutral, they begin to roll back. In fact, without a regular practice of the Spiritual Disciplines, believers begin to act more and more like the world, letting the flesh dominate their lives and choices. In doing so they become even more susceptible to sinful behavior. How’s that for motivation?
John Piper has made this statement, “Life Is War.” He goes on to say: “ And prayer is primarily a wartime walkie-talkie as the church advances against the powers of darkness. Life is war because the maintenance of our faith and the laying hold on eternal life is a constant fight.”
Life is war and prayer is a weapon… but we must use it!
E. M. Bounds wrote a book, “The Weapon of Prayer,” and said, “the absence of prayer lessens all the life-forces of the soul, cripples faith, sets aside holy living, shuts out heaven. So neglecting our own well-being of prayer and Scripture intake is a key reason in causing our faith to stall.
This is serious. So much so, that Jesus used it as one of the types of soils in His parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-8). In this parable, the soil describes the condition of the heart upon hearing the Word of God (the seed). But it is the third soil which represents those who hear the Word, but the “cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (Matthew 13: 7). This speaks to the fact that, unless that seed is growing alone in that soil, it can’t be fruitful. Those thorns and weeds restrict the good seed roots, drink up its moisture and nutrients, cover up its sunlight—so the good seed dies. So it is with allowing the distractions of life to crowd out the ability for the Word of God to firmly take root in our hearts and lives. What are some of those distractions in your life? Are they crowding out your ability to read and process God’s Word? What is competing for your love and attention?
Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15: 5).
The Lord strengthens us with power to be fruitful. However, we must put ourselves in a position to succeed.
Here are some powerful ways of getting back on track in your walk with Christ:
Confession and Repentance.
We must confess any sin to God, who is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). This may include confessing sin to others (James 5:16). Along with confession comes repentance. This is an extension of confessing. Repent literally means “to turn around.” This means, not only confess, but turn our backs on sin. To stop the sinful activity and walk in a new direction. Though this may seem hard, remember, it is a cooperative effort between God and us. As Jesus has won the ultimate victory over the power of sin, it is the Holy Spirit that helps and enables us to continue in the fight!
Have A Plan.
A recent study by the Barna Group, who researches religious belief and behavior in America, said that 60% of believers said they had no plan for their spiritual growth. It could be carving out 30 minutes per day before work or school, or before bedtime. Whatever works best for you. There is no right or wrong time—only if you don’t make the time. Don’t let the worries and distractions of life choke out your time with God!
Meditate on God’s Word.
As you do, ask God to bring to mind certain truths that He wants you to think deeply upon. Meditating is most effective when it focuses on a verse or short passage, as opposed to an entire chapter or large passage— which is why we say read big, meditate small. This is really what meditation on Scripture is all about. Indeed, immersing yourself in the Word should be for the purpose of understanding, application, and prayer. In fact, meditation beautifully connects our Scripture intake with prayer. It is the missing link, in that it helps to bridge what we take in from Scripture and our prayer lives. In meditating on the Scriptures, we pray in response to what He is revealing to us. This helps assure that our prayers are more in line with God’s will for us. Jesus told His disciples (which includes us, by the way): “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). Jesus is essentially saying, that as we are connected and obedient to His Word, our prayers are fruitful because they are devoted to His will!
As you ponder your spiritual status, Island Christian Church recently unveiled its process of how we help people grow in their faith.
The apostle Paul put it best in describing his own spiritual journey:
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Philippians 3:12).