Spiritual stagnancy is something many of us experience in life. When I was younger, I remember being confused by these seasons that felt uneventful. I would go to conferences and feel like I left walking hand in hand with my Savior. But after a few weeks of normal life, of laundry and school work and little brothers pushing my patience, I’d feel distant and apathetic again.
While I’d like to tell you that this pattern disappeared as I aged and matured in my faith, it hasn’t changed much.
I still have seasons when I feel exceptionally close to God and seasons when my faith feels more like an abstract concept than a life and soul-transforming part of my daily life.
These seasons of stagnancy can lead us to feel like a lesser Christian. But it is often in these seasons when the emotions aren’t propelling us that we truly move into the work we need to do to build a faith that survives the storms of life.These seasons of stagnancy can lead us to feel like a lesser Christian. But it is often in these seasons when the emotions aren’t propelling us that we truly move into the work we need to do to build a faith that survives the… Click To Tweet
When you doubt whether or not the work you’re doing to grow your spiritual life matters, that is when you need to dig deeper into tools God has given you.
Often times, seasons of stagnancy in my life cause me to become complacent with the little “white lie” level sins in my life that I’ve convinced myself hurt no one. But sin never hurts no one. Every little white lie, every moment of sloth, every unkind word, each uncharitable though is an action that Jesus bled and died for.
If I want to break out of feeling apathetic, I need to take my sin as seriously as Jesus does. I need to evaluate my heart and my actions and repent of anything not worthy of the high calling Christ has placed on my life.
When you are feeling lost in your faith, when your prayers feel memorized and heartless, don’t let the devil convince you that your prayers are meaningless.
Prayer changes your heart and it changes the world.
Whether you feel stagnant because of sin, life changes, or some combination of life busyness that you’re just not able to identify, prayer can change things.
If you’re having trouble coming up with a prayer, pray as Jesus taught us and say the Lord’s Prayer. Commit each day when you wake up and each night before bed to praying it aloud (because as strange as it may feel, praying aloud makes a difference).
3. Invest in Honest Relationships with Other Believers
While famines of the soul leave us feeling isolated, alone, and like we’ve failed as Christians, that is also a lie from the evil one. These seasons are common to most believers as some point, if not many points, in their Christian walk. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and to share our struggle, we open ourselves up to the encouragement of the greater Body of Christ that God has crafted for our benefit. We are not alone and those who walk this path solo do win a special badge, they ignore the gifts and tools God has given them in their local church body.
Pull yourself away from this world and focus on the world to come. Fasting is one of the tools of our faith that Jesus lists in Matthew 6 along with prayer and giving to the poor, as an assumed part of Christian life.
I think that it is important to fast from food regularly. It is one of the most tangible ways we are connected to this world and rely on something other than God for our sustenance.
5. Read Your Bible
Getting over my discomfort of fear that it will be “unproductive” and spending time in the Word of God is one of the things He has promised us will aid those who hear it.
So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. – Isaiah 55:11, ESV
During rough seasons, I spent my time in the Psalms. Other times, I focus on the life of Christ in the Gospels or read through the Old Testament accounts of how God sustained His people as they awaited the coming Messiah and carried themselves through the world broken by sin.
Even though it is hard, even if it feels pointless, time in God’s Word is never pointless. It will benefit you beyond the moments you spend reading it. Pick up your Bible, open to a book, and read through it a chapter a day.Even though it is hard, even if it feels pointless, time in God’s Word is never pointless. It will benefit you beyond the moments you spend reading it. Click To Tweet
When your faith is hard, you need to focus on the habits that God has given you. Don’t wait for a breakthrough moment to get started, start with the tasks God has told us will strengthen our faith.
There are times when we will sprint through our faith and times when the journey will be faithfully taking small steps. But small steps are still meaningful steps. And they are still forward progress.
If you are in a spiritually stagnant stage, you are not alone.
Read the Psalms. Many times, the psalmists felt distant from their Maker.
But they still trusted. And they kept moving forward. And they were not abandoned by God.