Are you slogging through your Christian experience, desperate for real connection, but despairing that it’s even possible in such a hurried, distracted, crumbling world? Are you ready for something more? And would you believe me if I told you it’s a whole lot easier than you thought?
Because let me guess. God has come to seem distant and uninterested. You struggle to read the Bible because it’s hard to understand or possibly even boring (yes, it’s okay to admit this). You don’t pray as you’d like because your mind wanders and you grow distracted. Church leaves you feeling empty and the hypocrites gathered there leave you feeling angry. You’re discouraged from repenting and then falling again. You never truly feel forgiven anyway.
You haven’t written God off but you can’t figure out how to flip your spiritual button on.
If you glimpsed yourself in any of that, you are just one of many believers who have hit a wall. It could be that you’ve never recovered from an old hurt. Maybe you’ve lost someone and your grief has you bound. Or your fear of a future tragedy may have you distrustful of God.
Whatever has brought you here doesn’t have the power to hold you, unless you want it to. And for the sake of keeping things moving, I’m going to assume you don’t want it to. So let’s talk about that.
Here are 3 very basic steps to take today…
1) Honesty. John 8:32 says And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Ask yourself what’s holding you back. What’s keeping you at arms distance? Is it unconfessed sin? Feelings of unworthiness? The bustle of life? Guilt over past relationships? Financial straights or even ruin? The failing health of yourself or someone you love? The condition of this decaying world? Fear? Could it even just be that other things mean more to you? The only wrong answer here is a dishonest one.
Grab a piece of paper, a journal or even the notepad on your phone. WRITE down your answer. This step is important because it pushes you to get real with yourself so you can be transparent with God. Which brings us to step 2…
2) Pray. I know, I know. Prayer is very likely a struggle but don’t let that stop you. I remember when I started running how I would dread it and pitifully avoid getting out there. It didn’t come naturally to me so each time I laced up my shoes it was a matter of determination and perseverance. Everything else seemed more important and I could have found many excuses to be distracted away from it. But I knew I wanted what running could give me. I wanted the strength, endurance and mental conditioning the practice promised. And though it took effort and I felt clumsy at first, the promises delivered.
It’s exactly so with prayer. It’ll feel awkward and you’ll have excuses. You won’t know what to say, how much to say, or how to say it. You’ll feel silly and wonder if you’re even being heard. The important thing to remember is that your spiritual life, and prayer journey, isn’t based on feelings. It can’t be or it’ll fail. You may feel empty even as you’re being filled. You simply have to trust He’s doing the filling. And trust is a decision.
If you need a little kick-starter to get you going, a few things to bring with you as you hit your knees are:
1) Your gratitude. Thank Him for EVERYTHING, including the trials that have shaped you. Thank Him for the desire to keep seeking Him out, even when it doesn’t feel easy. Thank Him for the promise that He accepts you where you are but doesn’t leave you there.
2) Your guilt. Repentance is the key that unlocks the door between mortal man and His eternal God. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 Confess your sins and He will strengthen you as you resolve to turn from them. This isn’t legalism, it’s grace. Because grace doesn’t free us from the law; it delivers us from the penalty of the law. Empty yourself of self and ask for the Spirit to fill you instead.
3) Your life. It’s His anyway. He determines your next breath. Humbly accept that you’ve made a mess of things and slide out of the driver’s seat. Ask Him to make you willing, and then more willing, to give Him complete control of your life. Put your family, your finances, and your future all in His hands. You’ll shed a heavy burden just choosing to believe He works ALL things for good. Even the ones that hurt for a time.
3) Listen for His quiet voice. Because as much as I’d love to tell you to stay on your knees all day, I know you can’t. But the beautiful truth is you don’t have to. God speaks to us in every moment, He counsels us in every decision, and He calls to us in every struggle. Prayer isn’t a posture it’s an attitude. It’s a habit. It’s a lifestyle that keeps us connected to the power that saves us from ourselves.
Those pings of conscience when you’re yelling at your kids? That’s the Holy Spirit.
That twinge of guilt when you’re choosing anger over joy? The Holy Spirit again.
The call to your heart you hear when you want to lash out at your husband for not doing things the “right” way? You guessed it…it’s Him.
Learn to hear Him and train yourself to respond. The devil would have us believe things like murder or adultery are the unpardonable sins. But there is only one sin that cannot be forgiven and it’s the grieving away of the Holy Spirit. Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. Matthew 12:31
Every single sin, with the exception of the continual resistance to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, is covered by the blood of Jesus. Why? Because without the Spirit we have no life. We are simply living for ourselves until we die, unredeemed.
But with Him we can accept the gift of salvation and have life eternal.
If your present condition relates to this post, I want you to know I’ve been where you are. I know the frustration of walking straight into the wall, time and again. I know how hard it feels to get turned around and how discouraging it is to wonder if maybe you’re just not on His radar.
But I also know when you start making simple, intentional choices that put you face to face and heart to heart with God, you realize just how uncomplicated, close, and intensely interested He really is in little old you!
Are you tossing your feelings aside and stepping out to find Christ today? Because those arms outstretched on the cross were for you. They were even for YOU.