I enjoyed ten wonderful days with family and friends: eating, visiting, laughing, seeing beauty, and having fun. Nothing wrong with that, except I also neglected prayer and reading and meditating on the Bible. My normal routine is to start every day reading His truth and mediating, talking to Him. My rationale was that it was just for a few days. I could get back to it when I got home.
However, it wasn’t easy to go back to where I was.
I felt disconnected from God, I was weak spiritually and I struggled for a couple of weeks.
One morning as I was walking and praying, it occurred to me it was like I fasted from spiritual disciplines.
What happens when one fasts from physical food? The body feels weaker. If a person does a ten-day fast from food, do they go back the next day and eat 3 full meals? No way. That person would have to start small, maybe even with broth.
What about our muscles? If a part of the body is injured and has to be immobilized for a period of time, such as having an arm or leg in a cast, does that person go back to normal activity the next day? Not a chance. In fact, most will need the help of a physical therapist to get back to the strength they had before they put the cast on.
So why do I think I can go without spiritual food for an extended time and then go right back to the state of mind and heart I was before?
It doesn’t happen that way. God’s word says we reap what we sow. I’m not saying it was wrong for me to enjoy all the things I did on vacation. God gives us all things to enjoy. But, it was a choice to leave God out of that time. I could’ve had both. I could’ve kept my spiritual walk with Him and still enjoyed the fun.
Does He love me less? No. His love never changes. Am I still His? Always. Nothing or no one can take me away from Him. Did I still reap what I sowed? Yes. I’ve had to battle back to where I was in my spirit. I’ve struggled to get back to my devotions.
I was thinking this morning that just as we have to start with broth after a long fast from food or start with small repetitive motions after a muscle is weakened, I should start to regain strength by going back to the basics. So, I focused on praising God, on thanking Him for everything in my life, all of which is a gift from Him. I will slowly build back that walk.
Hopefully I have learned that the cost for neglecting my walk with Him is too high. Jesus said if we want to follow Him we have to deny ourselves daily. Following Him requires self-denial. I want to serve Him and show others His glory. I could just stroll through life and waste my time. I could live for today and getting for myself. I would still be with Him in heaven though there would be no reward. I want to face Him without shame, knowing I gave Him my best. Knowing I kept seeking Him with all my heart. He searches the earth for those who will seek Him, who will love Him more than earthly pursuits.
I’m so thankful to know Jesus! I’m so thankful to know I’m His forever and nothing can change that. But I want my life to count for Him.
Jesus, Thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you for your love. Please help me make the choice to deny myself and follow you each day. Help me listen and be willing to hear. Please let your will be done in my life, not mine. I love you Lord.
Do you feel weak spiritually? Maybe you need to break a fast from spiritual disciplines. If it’s been a while since you were consistent in spending time with Jesus, start by just praising Him. Look around and thank Him for what you see. Thank Him for His grace. Thank Him for life. I love what our pastor once shared, “If you’re going to run, run to Jesus.” When we are weak, we can be tempted to run from Him because we feel embarrassed, guilty, weak, or scared. But instead we should run to Him. He is always waiting with open arms. We are always welcomed.
“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” Luke 9:23