By Chuck Lawless
This post is confessional, but I trust it will be helpful to you. As I make disciples, I encourage them to be ever aware of markers when their spiritual walk loses its fire. Here are some of those markers for me:
- Bible reading is a chore more than a delight. I never miss reading the Word each day, but some days I find myself doing it because I’m supposed to – not because I just want to hear from the Lord. “Spiritual box checking” is never a sign of fire.
- Prayer is perfunctory more than personal and passionate. I quickly recognize the difference between praying because that’s what believers do and praying because I long to talk with God. Real prayer is just different.
- I stop singing. I’m not a singer, but I sing all the time when my heart’s right with God—just not so loudly that everybody else can hear it. I recognize a problem when I can’t remember the last time I sang.
- I don’t as strongly fight temptations. It’s easier for all of us to give in to temptation when we’re overall not loving God like we should. Regularly losing the battle is a sure warning sign about my spiritual fire.
- Worry begins to consume me. I’m naturally a worrier, but God has been gracious to free me from that bondage when my heart’s tuned to Him. When it’s not, worry can quickly become an idol.
- I get less concerned about non-believers around me. What drives me to evangelize the most is being so amazed by Jesus that I can’t help but speak about Him. When I’m not broken over lostness, it’s usually because I’ve lost my wonder over Jesus.
- I begin to struggle with why God would ever use me. I know I’m not worthy to do God’s work, and I really don’t understand why He uses me–but that’s not my point here. When my spiritual walk is stagnant, I let grief over yesterday’s sin and today’s struggles convince me that I’m not usable.
- Anger lives on my lips. Anger is in my blood. God’s lovingly guarded me from myself over the years, but I know I can easily move in the wrong direction—especially when my focus is more on self than on God.
- I don’t look forward to worship. Somedays I can’t wait to gather with God’s people, sing His praises corporately, and hear the Word preached (though, if I’m completely honest . . . I’m not the best listener since I’d rather be preaching). When that excitement isn’t there, it’s time to evaluate my walk.
- My wife knows something’s not right. She just does, because she knows me well. Even if she doesn’t always verbalize her concerns immediately, she eventually and gently asks about my heart.
What signs help you recognize when you’re spiritually stagnant? Let’s help each other.
Click here to read the original blog on ChuckLawless.com
Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on Twitter @Clawlessjr and on at facebook.com/CLawless.