I don’t mean to be pedantic, but today I was thinking that the phrase “my spiritual life” is not the best one to describe what is meant by it. I have been very aware lately in this present phase of life as it is for me, that by spiritual life I really don’t mean something that I possess as though it was my own and deserves credit. Rather by spiritual life I think I mean the life of the Spirit of God within me. I found myself thinking today of a verse which Paul addressed to the Corinthians. In the opening chapters of 1st. Corinthians Paul acknowledges how blessed a church they were. They had been gifted with the visiting ministries of significant Christian leaders such as Paul and Apollos; they had been gifted too with many spiritual gifts. Unfortunately all of that had produced to a significant degree a sort of arrogance or pride that in turn had produced the bad fruit of division. Paul has to say to them, “What have you that you did not receive? Why then do you boast as though it were your own.”
What do I have that I have not received as a gift from God? That may sound gloomy, pessimistic and Calvinistic in the extreme. Actually if you receive that truth the way I did today it gives tremendous hope. What do I mean? Well, of course I have responsibility to nurture and take care of what God gives by His Spirit, but ultimately I can only do so much. I don’t mean to make it sound as though I am passing the buck on to God, but ultimately if spiritual life is the result of the gift of His Spirit, then there is always hope. If spiritual life depended on me that would be worrying. But if it is a gift from God then when I am aware for whatever reason of things not being as they should be there is always hope, for Jesus has told me and told us all that our Father loves to give good things, loves to give His Holy Spirit to His children. At times when I have felt no great energy, indeed have felt blankness in my walk with the Lord, times where good things do not cause me to rejoice and sin does not really bother me, I have relied on the thought of Paul in 2nd, Corinthians Chapter 1, namely that we can set our hope on God, that having delivered us once He can do so again. God can do what I can’t. It is a slap in the face to our pride that actually all spiritual life is a gift from God, but it is our hope and a great relief as well.
I wonder if you are trying too hard to be spiritual, as though it is something that lies completely within your domain. Ultimately spiritual life is the life of the Spirit within us. It is all gift. If you are reading this and you are going though a blank time spiritually, I assure you on the basis of the Word of God and of my own personal experience, that God can turn that around. He can cause deep to call unto deep when all seems pretty dead and lifeless within. He can help us desire Him when we have no such desire in ourselves. There is one prayer I have never found God say a “No” to, and that is when I am genuinely unable to make any progress myself, and when that has ceased to bother me, I have called on him to deliver me from my own spiritual deadness yet again. Sooner or later, He always has. When he does deliver me from that deadness, I have cried over what I could not cry over before, rejoiced over what previously I felt blank towards. When I ask for help sooner or later something begins to stir with longing for God that seemed to have gone out. FROM CHRIST AND FOR CHRIST AND TO CHRIST ARE ALL THINGS. Ask Him to assert the power of His life within you.There is nothing to boast about save Him. Call out to the God who can bring life where there is deadness. Something will begin to stir within you.
I read a beautiful line in a poem today about “Restless Africa” stirring in the hearts of swallows just before they migrate. May the Spirit of the God who yearns jealousy for you make a restlessness felt within you, until wild horses could not drag you back from seeking the One you may currently be cold shouldering. If it does not sound too irreverent to mention this, sometimes the medication I am on makes me uncontrollably ravenously hungry. The cause of that hunger does not originate in me. I think I just want to say to you today, especially to those who have lost a desire for God, that Christ is the hunger as well as the bread. Set your hope on Him.
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