If you’ve been a believer for any length of time, you have likely been caught in this scenario …
You’re doing your thing, trying your best to grow in your relationship with God. Maybe you’re spending some time God’s word, prayer and going to church regularly. You’re even investing in some type of Christian friendships or community.
Little by little the distance sets in. Your focus diminishes and the glory of the cross begins to fade. What seems like all of the sudden, you find yourself planted in a “spiritual desert” not hearing God and questioning how you got there. This often leaves us doubting His goodness (or worse as I have been) existing in an apathetic state.
We all know the enemy loves this. He is all for anything he can do to render us ineffective as examples of Christ or to discourage us from sharing the gospel.
But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Today I want to help you stop before you set up camp in the desert.
Warning Sign #1 Loss of Focus
It can happen so many ways. Seasons of busyness, stress, vacations, new babies, holidays, taking care of others, exhaustion, overwhelm and the list goes on. When life hits in a hard way, we need to be on guard. We need to be intentional to protect our focus and keep it on the Lord first.
If we get swayed by our circumstances, good or bad, we can easily lose focus. Often, our time with God is the first thing to go. Trust me, I know this first hand. I am writing this from the perspective of many seasons with way to much going on. In good or bad times it happens. We need to be aware and fight for our relationship with Jesus starting at this point!
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Eph 6:11
Warning Sign #2 Loss of Appetite
You know that awful stomach bug? The kind where you eat less and less and then soon you can’t eat anything at all? You have NO appetite? This can be the same with God’s word. Once the loss of focus happens, we often start spending less time in God’s word and prayer, which leaves us wanting it less. When there is little hunger left for the things of God, we must make a choice. Either we make an extra effort to pursue Him or we continue to drift away.
We need to choose things like reading scripture, prayer, podcasts, fellowship with believers and worship music (if that’s your thing:) even when we don’t feel like. We must choose to love God with our whole heart, soul, strength and mind – not just going by our feelings.
This doesn’t mean you have to study or pray for hours, but you should read and attempt to pray. This is where scripture cards come in handy. Reading God’s word, even in small but consistent amounts, makes a difference. Is it hard to pursue Him with no appetite? Yes, it can be. Is it worth it to keep on? Without a doubt!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27
Warning Sign #3 Believing Condemnation
The farther we drift, the harder it is to see the truth. Soon thoughts of how God is not really who He says He is creep in. Is He really in control, almighty and always with me?
In my experience the condemnation will be in any or all areas of my life. I’ll start to feel completely inadequate and hopeless in my Christian walk and as a Wife, Mom and Friend.
Recognize the warning sign and ask yourself who you are listening to. “While the enemy’s condemnation drives us away from God, the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to bring us to the cross. As the Spirit convicts us, He draws us to that place of forgiveness, cleansing, strength, and power, which is found only in Jesus Christ.” – Pastor Chuck Smith
Do not believe the condemnation and ask the one who saves for help!
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
Warning Sign #4 Pulling Away From Relationships
There is a lot to be said about community and godly friendships in the bible. He calls us to it for a reason. Being a generally introverted person (except with those I know well and love:) It is very easy for me to hang back or even withdraw. We have to be sensitive to why we REALLY don’t want to go to that church function or community group.
Often if you’re spiritually struggling, the last thing you want to do is be around other believers.
Here comes the part where I say “please go anyways!” I have talked with many women in exactly that same spot. Very few – including myself, ever say that they regret going. God uses other believers in amazing ways. It may not even be that day, but later that you realize why God wanted you there. I encourage you, tough it out and go, really!
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14
So when the next round of crazy life hits, keep your eyes open for these warning signs!
I pray that God would help you keep your focus on Him always, despite the world swirling around you.
And if you find yourself navigating through the warning steps above, stop, turn around, and head back to the stream of refreshment. I have had to do this many times and He is always faithful!
The smallest step in the right direction towards God, could end up being the biggest step you ever take! He loves you, and wants to use your life for His glory!
He wants others lives to be changed forever by the gospel message you have hidden in your heart! He will never leave you or forsake you. Cling to Him.
Looking for some application?
Grab our 40 FREE Scripture Truth Cards. Each card has a lie that we are likely to tell ourselves and a verse of God’s truth to combat that lie! Join the Encourage Community below!
Which of these warning signs do you struggle with? Can I pray for you? Please either comment below or contact me. I would love to pray for you!
Talk to you soon,
O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul;
You have redeemed my life.
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