Question from a Site Viewer
I was saved several years ago. At the time, I couldn’t go to church because my husband wasn’t saved and he thought it was a real waste of my time. I have a seven year old boy and he was around two. Anyway, I thought that I missed some very precious time not knowing what to do at the time. At that time, my husband was also very abusive. I tried to keep reading the Bible and praying. I know some people noticed a change in me. Anyway, with this site I can read about things I was scared to ask. Because even being a Christian I’m extremely shy. I sing in choir at a church I’ve been attending–the one I use to just visit off and on years ago. And I’m quite sure it’s the right one for me. It’s just taking me time to get really comfortable there. But I feel that just in a short time your site has helped extremely. There is a time right after you get saved that you’re on fire for Christ, and you really need someone to help you understand and be supportive to you. So, at times, I didn’t know if I backslid, because I didn’t go fellowship with my brothers and sisters. I think I’m alright now, but sometimes it’s like the devil gets me to doubt my relationship with God. I never went back to bad language, smoking, or drinking. But that doesn’t mean I’m without sin. It’s just hard for me to really focus on Jesus.
Thank you for your email. I understand that sometimes it is difficult in some circumstances to get the fellowship and have access to the teaching most useful for spiritual growth. God understands this as well. I am glad that you have persevered through this time and that you have more freedom now to engage in the church.
As I understand your question, it seems that there is a concern that your heart does not burn as much for Jesus as it did when you first came to Christ, although you still want to serve Him. You just do not still have the same fire and you really find it hard to focus on Jesus. This is not a good thing, although it is good that you have noticed this and have a concern about this.
One of the ways we rob ourselves of the blessings of God is that we sometimes get into routines and substitute religion for a close, personal relationship with Him. The Christian things we do–go to church, serve, read, pray, give – becomes our duty and the evidence of our Christianity. And we have moved away from being deeply in love with Jesus.
Here is what I would encourage you to do. Re-read Galatians, especially the last half of chapter 2, chapter 3, and chapter 5. Evaluate your life and the things, including people (other than God), that are most important to you. Write them down on a sheet of paper. Work through these items and ask yourself what would life be like if you did not have them. They may be things, they may be children, they may be friends, etc. If God were to take each one away, one at a time, what would their loss do to your relationship with God? Would you be bitter, angry? Can you truly say with Job of old, “The LORD has given and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD”?
This may not be an easy exercise. But I have found it very useful in my life. As I work through the list, if there is anything on the list that would make me upset with God if He took it away, I know that thing or person has become an idol to me. I must work through the matter in my mind until I can surrender it to Jesus. Only when I can say that there is nothing else I want more than Him, when I can give everything to Jesus, am I then prepared to focus my life to seek after Him.
It is not that we want to be unappreciative of His blessings, but His blessings are a poor substitute for Him. We want to be at a place in our lives where we would gladly give up everything so that we may have Jesus (He may not and usually will not take everything from us; but we must be willing to give everything to Him).
Now, having gone through that exercise, I would make strengthening my relationship with Jesus the priority of life. As with Paul, the Apostle, we want to make our number one desire to know Jesus (Philippians 3:10). We want to talk to Him and look eagerly for His answers. We want to live our lives in such a way that every part of the day we are looking for Him. If we sin, we want to confess immediately and apologize and seek His forgiveness and favor. We want to greet Him when we wake up. We want to ask Him to use us to bring His kingdom to bear in this world. We want to ask Him to guide us in our decisions. We tell Him how lovely He is. We tell others about what a great God He is. We make it our focus to feast on His beauty, to taste and see that He is good, to know the sense of His presence, to let our hearts be touched by His compassion and hurt. As in the words of the prophet, we want to break up the hardened ground and seek the Lord. As we do so, our hearts will return to a longing for Him, a deepening appreciation for what He means to us, and a renewed focus so that our eyes are looking only to Him (Hebrews 12:2). Christ is the One we see before us and around us; He is the One who is our life and we live this life to please and honor Him. When He is the focus, then what other people do around us can no longer affect our core life. We can then have compassion on sinners, we can love those who hate us, we can pray for those who misuse us. Our focus is being the instruments to bring His kingdom to bear upon the lives of people on earth. We want to be in such tight yoke with Jesus that He is in all our thoughts. This does not mean that we can never think of anything else. But what it does mean is that, just as is the case when you are in the presence of a dear friend, so we are in the presence of Jesus. His presence is always felt, even when we may be focusing on getting dinner made, paying bills, or talking to someone else. And we do not neglect Him.
I think you will find that when you devote your energies to seek after Him, you will find Him and rekindle your deep love for our great Savior.
May the Lord bless you in your journey.
Thanks for writing.
a fellow pilgrim