What has happened in your life? For some reason, something has changed. You have lost your passion; your desire; your longing; zeal; hunger; enthusiasm . . . pick the adjectives that describe what you are experiencing — maybe they all describe what has happened to your faith, but for whatever reason, everything you once held dear has faded and you have no idea how to get it back — or whether you even want it back.
For some, the passion is lost suddenly. Maybe a crisis of some kind or a major life change. But for most the enthusiasm ebbs away slowly, like a stone being worn by the wind. The change has been almost unperceptive, but for whatever reason there has been less time in prayer; less time reading the Bible, or even maintaining close relationships with other believers. The Holy pursuit has dried up, with no idea why. Life has slowly become no different from non-believers. Your language has become profane and angry, and your heart has become cold and hard.
I don’t know if I have hit a sore spot for some of you, but if I have, would you like to rekindle your spiritual flame? You can, you know? But it will require some effort on your part.
Take a moment to remember the many blessings — both spiritual and material — that your Father has given you. In every way, we are dependent on Him. Remember how your spiritual life began once you accepted a complete change in your relationship; oh not a judicial change, but a conscious and experiential change that affected your whole nature.
Yes, Jesus’ atonement made that change judicially, but the work of the Holy Spirit has to make it emotionally satisfying. I want you to recapture what you have lost. Think about the prodigal son. He had brought a world of trouble on himself when he forgot the position he held as his father’s son. His restoration did not come by simply wishing for it to happen; it came when he reestablished the father-son relationship. That story had nothing to do with the legal aspects of redemption, but it is a perfect illustration on how we can mend the separation we have caused.
Look, you have to begin somewhere, so you must be willing to take your Heavenly Father as He is, and you must adapt your life to Him. You have to quit trying to mode Him into the image you have created of Him.
Your flesh is going to stomp its feet and whimper against the rigor of God’s inexorable sentence and even beg like Agag for a little mercy, a little indulgence of its carnal ways. As Tozer declared:
It is no use. We can get a right start only by accepting God as He is and learning to love Him for what He is. As we go on to know Him better we are going to find that it is a source of unspeakable joy and that God is just what He is. Some of the most rapturous moments we know will be those we spend in reverent admiration of the Godhead. In those holy moments the very thought of change in Him will be too painful to endure.
When you start to grow cold spiritually, it is ultimately the result of sin. This sin can be either blatant, like stealing or lying or it can be subtle, like being angry at the cost of groceries.
What you need to do is discover what sins have crept into your life and damaged your relationship with your Lord. Then see what has entered your life and taken precedence over your desire for Christ?
We can see this attitude in David’s heart. Think about it, after Nathan rebuked David for committing adultery with Bathsheba, David wrote an excellent prayer of confession:
Have pity on me, O Elohim, in keeping with your mercy.
In keeping with your unlimited compassion, wipe out my rebellious acts.
Wash me thoroughly from my guilt,
and cleanse me from my sin.
I admit that I am rebellious.
My sin is always in front of me.
I have sinned against you, especially you.
I have done what you consider evil.
So you hand down justice when you speak,
and you are blameless when you judge.
Indeed, I was born guilty.
I was a sinner when my mother conceived me.
Yet, you desire truth and sincerity.[a]
Deep down inside me you teach me wisdom.
Purify me from sin with hyssop,[b] and I will be clean.[c]
Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness.
Let the bones that you have broken dance.
Hide your face from my sins,
and wipe out all that I have done wrong.
Sometimes a loss of spiritual hunger goes hand in hand with a loss of commitment to a regular, personal time with the Lord. Mathew tells us that Jesus often pulled away from the crowds so he could spend time alone in prayer (Matthew 14:23).
David understood this:
I have asked one thing from Yahweh.
This I will seek:
to remain in Yahweh’s house all the days of my life
in order to gaze at Yahweh’s beauty
and to search for an answer in his temple.
5 He hides me in his shelter when there is trouble.
He keeps me hidden in his tent.
He sets me high on a rock.
6 Now my head will be raised above my enemies who surround me.
I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy in his tent.
I will sing and make music to praise Yahweh.
7 Hear, O Yahweh, when I cry aloud.
Have pity on me, and answer me.
8 When you said,
“Seek my face,”
my heart said to you,
“O Yahweh, I will seek your face (Psalm 27:4-8)
Protect me, O El, because I take refuge in you.
2 I said to Yahweh,
“You are my Adonay. Without you, I have nothing good.”
3 Those who lead holy lives on earth
are the noble ones who fill me with joy.
4 Those who quickly chase after other gods multiply their sorrows.
I will not pour out their sacrificial offerings of blood
or use my lips to speak their names.
5 Yahweh is my inheritance and my cup.
You are the one who determines my destiny.
6 Your boundary lines mark out pleasant places for me.
Indeed, my inheritance is something beautiful.
7 I will praise Yahweh, who advises me.
My conscience warns me at night.
8 I always keep Yahweh in front of me.
When he is by my side, I cannot be moved.
9 That is why my heart is glad and my soul rejoices.
My body rests securely
10 because you do not abandon my soul to the grave
or allow your holy one to decay.
11 You make the path of life known to me.
Complete joy is in your presence.
Pleasures are by your side forever (Psalm 16)
Wow! But you won’t experience this without spending time in fellowship and prayer. Look at the eleventh verse again and notice what David expected after he spent time with the Lord:
11 You make the path of life known to me.
Complete joy is in your presence.
Pleasures are by your side forever (Psalm 16:11)
My dear friend, if you want to recover (or discover) the joy and excitement of your Salvation, you must get in the habit of coming before your Lord with more than a shopping list of wants and needs. Start devoting your time simply enjoying His presence and communing with His Spirit. Go to Him for His own sake, rather than what He can do for you. Fall in love with your Savior and get to know your Father.
Become desperate for Him. In fact, I dare you ask Him to prove Himself to you. I’m serious. If you ask Him, He will respond to you. If you will diligently seek Him, you will find Him. Scripture is clear that if you seek Him, you will find Him (Deuteronomy 4:29).
Proverbs 2:1-6 declares:
if you take my words to heart
and treasure my commands within you,
2 if you pay close attention to wisdom,
and let your mind reach for understanding,
3 if indeed you call out for insight,
if you ask aloud for understanding,
4 if you search for wisdom as if it were money
and hunt for it as if it were hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of Yahweh
and you will find the knowledge of Elohim.
6 Yahweh gives wisdom.
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding
There are millions of Christians, and each one of them can tell you how they came to the faith. Search history and you will find glowing testimonies of people who sought for the Lord and whose lives were touched and changed by him.
Look, you don’t have to be “down and out” to find Him. All He requires is that you genuinely want to know Him. If you are just on a religious hunt, He will remain hidden to you. He will not become clear to you if you keep glancing at Him as if you were looking for something in a store window. If you are going to remain distant and satisfied with knowing about Him, trying to “decide” whether you are willing to believe and obey Him will never learn the truth about Him.
With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.