I have been in a rut--a spiritual rut. This sort of thing has happened to me before. When I was a new believer I used to think it meant that I was backsliding, but now I don’t believe that. To backslide simply means to revert back to bad ways. Backsliding has been described as a continuous state of deliberate rebellion. A true believer doesn’t remain in that state, right? A person who professes Christ and then decides to backslide doesn’t seem to be a Christian to me. Proverbs 14:14 says, “The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruits of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.” The backslider thinks his ways are right. As Christians, we know our ways aren’t right. And if you haven’t learned the hard lesson that your ways aren’t right keep following The Lord and you’ll soon see.
But that isn’t what I mean when I say I was in a spiritual rut. I have not reverted back to my old ways before The Lord saved me. What I mean is that it’s been dry over here. PARCHED. I am kind of embarrassed to admit that this has been my struggle. I was ashamed, but I have to be real with y’all for a minute. I usually know when this period of spiritual dryness is coming.
Recently, my family and I made the journey across 5 states and relocated to sunny Arizona. We love it here and I can’t say that enough. We sincerely believe God's providence brought us here and to be completely honest I am seeing His hand on some things we’ve been praying about. God is faithful y’all. Anyways, HUGE transitions happened upon our arrival: new school for my babies, a new church, and a new job. Whew! That’s a lot, but we are incredibly happy here and we feel like God has us right where He wants us.
With all of this going on my prayer life started to lack. I went from talking to God throughout the day with little touch base prayers and thanking Him for who He is, to saying my prayers as I lay in bed, mumbling a few words before I was knocked out. Pitiful. I went from reading my Bible daily to picking it up only in church on Sundays and leaving it in the car during the week. * cringes * I was also struggling big time with my new job. Plain and simple it was not a good fit for me, and I firmly believed I wasn’t a good fit for them. My flesh showed its true ugliness while dealing with my job. It showed in my attitude, my speech, and my thoughts. I started complaining about the company with sisters and brothers in Christ and it eventually turned into gossiping on my part. I was so frustrated with the company that my complaining turned into me finding ALL of the bad things about it and why it was unfair. Poor me. I was having a pity party and anyone who listened was part of it. The Bible is very clear about gossip. Proverbs 18:7 states, “A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.” Proverbs 16:28 “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.”
When I started realizing that God seemed far away, I chalked it up to the fact that The Lord knows my heart and He knows I am busy. It wasn’t until recently that I realized why my relationship with God felt dry. My personal sin had contributed to that. We sin daily--intentionally and unintentionally. I was willfully sinning, passing it off as frustrations and bringing my brothers and sisters into sin with me. I felt immediate shame. Who did I think I was fooling? Was I frustrated with the company? Yes, absolutely so. Did I have righteous anger? Nah. I was behaving as a non-believer but wondered why it felt like God was far away from me? I don’t know about y’all, but I am someone who generally doesn’t need the approval of others. That isn’t a driver in my life. But, to know I have disappointed God? That has kept me awake at night. Going through a spiritual dry spell due to unrepentant sin has caused joy to be lost in my salvation (Psalms 51:12).
When God revealed to me the sin in my life I had to repent. This is always first. Then I reached out to my friends who I had gossiped with and asked for their forgiveness. I have some gracious friends because they forgave me. I don’t deserve my sisters in Christ. They’ve been so good to me. When I mess up I tend to harp on it. I will let guilt and shame run wild, and will feel bad about it even after confessing my sins. We serve a God who tells us there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) But I know to continue to willfully live in a spiritual rut is sinning now. God revealed my sin to me. I repented and sought forgiveness from the ones I’ve offended.
I am FORGIVEN.
Brethren, I share this story because I believe we all will go through or have gone through spiritual dryness. If you aren’t like me and don’t have any unconfessed sin that you need to repent of, I am going to offer some suggestions on how to get out of that dry FUNK.
1. Pray. Be completely transparent with God because, guess what, He already knows. You ain’t hidin’ nothing. Let God know where you are with your walk with Him. Ask him to reveal any unrepentant sin in your life that could be creating a barrier between you and Him. Pray that you will regain a hunger for His Word. Pray without ceasing. (1st Thessalonians 5:16-18). In my opinion that is the starting point.
2. Spend time in God’s word. Sometimes that is the biggest challenge. Life is busy, and sometimes we are just reading the Bible out of obligation. During those times I would encourage you to MAKE TIME. Period. I suggest starting a Bible plan with another brother or sister. You can even ask me. I am willing to do some Bible reading with you daily. Don’t be ashamed because you don’t “feel” that hunger to dive into His Word as believers should.
3. Get around your people! And when I say your people I mean the body. Do you have a church home? (If not, you can always send me a private message and we can talk about that.) It is so important to be connected with a church. We need people who are going to help hold us accountable and sharpen us. A Christian friend should be as Proverbs 27:17 says: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” I have been so blessed because I have those kinds of friends. I have a sweet sister who edits this blog for me, a sweet sister who fasts for me, a sweet sister who prays with and for me, and so many more. If you are not yet connected in a church or around other believers, it can be a bit more difficult to remain accountable. It is doable but difficult. I would make it a priority to find a church. Again, I would be more than happy to help you look if you would like.
4. Finally, I would say thank God for revealing your spiritual dryness to you. Now you are aware of it. You can take the steps with Christ’s strength to gain your hunger back for God’s word.
Satan loves when we are in a rut, especially when we remain in it. While in our ruts we grow further and further from Christ. James 4:7 tells us to resist the devil and he will flee from you. He isn’t going to flee from us while we are in a spiritual rut. We are making it easy for him and our flesh to become a partnership in willful sin. Because God knows us, I believe he knew there would be times like this in our lives. We may feel like God is far from us and that he doesn’t hear us, especially while we are in our rut, but that’s simply not true. Brethren, born again Christians always have the Holy Spirit. He lives in us. Psalm 19:7 says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”
Read that again. God’s word revives the soul. It renews and refreshes it.
This is a prayer that I have been saying while going through my rut. “God please give me an eager love for your word and a deep adoration for your commandments. I am a sinner and I am not capable of coming out of this rut without you. Please reveal any hidden sin to me so that I can repent and begin fellowship with you again.”
You can add more or less to that prayer, but I believe that is a good starting point. I am here to support and encourage you. Please send me an email @ firstname.lastname@example.org