You remember how it was when you started dating someone you were interested in? The butterflies in your stomach on that first, official outing or the racing heart when that number showed up on your phone…the long hours of phone conversations.
Then at some point, that excitement wanes. The mountaintop experiences might be fewer and farther between. And if you are not intentional about reassessing your WHY and pushing the reset button, you can end up just being two people who seem obligated to stay with each other. Those flames become really low and in some cases, only the embers remain of a once burning love.
The reality is, no relationship is on a high at all times. No relationship is perfect. But just as we humans might have – or maybe not – done all we could to revive and save a natural relationship, how much more should we strive to bring in alignment our spiritual relationship with our heavenly Father?
Are you lukewarm in your relationship with God? Have you lost your first love?
Recently, my mind has been on Revelation 2:4-5. It is a message to the church of Ephesus and to many of us today. God told them they had “left (their) first love” (4). What’s interesting here is that God did not leave them; they left Him. He continues to want to be in relationship with us.
This state is similar to the church of the Laodiceans in chapter 3, of whom he told in verses 15 and 16 that they were neither hot nor cold – and He would rather them be one or the other – but instead, they were lukewarm. In that case, he would spue them out of his mouth. Very strong, serious language here.
Look, I know what it feels like to be dry in my relationship with God. I recognize that this has happened at times when I am distracted. I get so busy with life. I put God on my to-do list, but He’s not first. I squeeze Him in, but don’t give Him the attention He deserves. And I can tell you that when I’m not getting in the Word in a very intentional way and spending time with God in a meaningful way, I feel empty. I could tell the difference. I become spiritually malnourished. I need food and water. Once I recognize this, I confess where I am and am intentional about getting back on track. Staying in that condition is spiritually dangerous.
Like a natural relationship, sometimes we have to regroup. Revitilization might be necessary. Here are a few tips:
1) Confess to God how you are feeling.
2) Ask God’s guidance on the way forward.
3) Study the Bible in a different way. Instead of trying to get through a whole book right now, perhaps study a particular character. Can you identify with that character? Can you learn from that character’s mistakes and/or triumphs? How about studying who God says you are in Christ Jesus? Maybe study the miracles of Jesus or study all events leading up to Christ crucifixion, comparing and contrasting the details in the gospels.
4) Begin studying with a Christian friend or a small group for new, fresh insight into the Word. Pick a day and time, and stick to it. You might be surprised at what others outside of your regular study crew might reveal through the Holy Spirit.
5) Make it a point to literally stop what you are doing and pray throughout the day. Connect with God, not only when you need Him or during morning and night devotion. For example, I LITERALLY pray audibly when driving. I sometimes have church all by myself! I sometimes intentionally stop what I’m doing at my desk and pray. You can even decide on lunch time prayer meetings with a friend, family member or colleague. It doesn’t have to be in person. Use WhatsApp to voice or video call, or hey, there’s Zoom too! Walk outside, go to your car…whatever is convenient.
5) Play worship music when you can, throughout the day – whenever possible. If not, quietly sing songs or hymns.
6) On your lunch break, listen to a short sermon by one of your favourite pastors.
7) Fast. It’s a way to draw closer to God, as you seek His face. And it’s not just about not eating; it’s more about hungering after God and doing His will. After a focused fast, we should feel revived in our spirits. After all, dry bones can live again.
So just some thoughts worth sharing as I know all too well that there could be some dry spells during this Christian journey. However, there’s an oasis right in front of you. Drink. It’s a well that NEVER runs dry.
Growing in Christ,