By: Kim Carroll
Why does a person Spiritually go to sleep, especially in the latter part of their life?
As we look at the church throughout the ages it seems that this is an occurance we see quite a bit. We also see it was a problem for Israel as well as the church throughout the Bible. I believe that this can happen at any age with Christians, a loss of passion for Jesus. You realize it's just not what it once was, your heart doesn't resonate the same passion it once did. It does seem to be a little more prevalent with those that have a few more years on their lives. However, no matter which stage of life this has caught you in, I offer the following to help identify and possibly help you get out of this funk and offer you some tools to guard against this from stealing away your time and life, but especially your life with Jesus.
What are some identifying characteristics of this stage of slumber.
It may or may not be obvious but you don't risk like you use too, why? For those who have lost their passion, if honest, would say they do not enter into risk like they once did. Now we are not talking about the daredevil who is jumping out of planes or hanging off of cliffs. But we are addressing an attitude shift in one's thinking from risk to playing it safe. This doesn't necessarily happen instantly but gradually. We play it safe one day. You know, a little safe here and then a little safer there and before long we are sitting back doing nothing. We are no longer doing the things that we were once on fire about. We are not engaging ourselves in His Kingdom Business like we once did. Our chart of how we evaluate what is worth the risk and what is not, has changed. Risk involves your image and position or status in life. Maybe you were just a worker in a company, but now you're the manager. The reality is that your chart has changed because you have changed. You dress different, you have to act different, more professional. These can be great changes, but should never affect your heart toward service in His Kingdom. You back off sharing as much as you use to. You are just not as forthcoming about your Christian witness as you once were. However, who you were at the start, as far as your heart in serving the King, should be the same. Granted you have matured and this is good, but that should make your service and heart toward Him even greater. Changes in life and our maturing in life cannot be excuses for not risking it all for Him.
You built a life around you that you are use to. We live in a world that tells us to work hard and achieve, so we do just that and we grow in our responsibilities. We work hard to have better and get the better things in this life. We then grow accustom to these things we have worked hard to achieve. After all, it took you hard work and time to get to this level of comfort and we are going to enjoy it. Now, who in their right mind wants to be uncomfortable? Sometimes I wonder if this is not one of the more dangerous places for a Christian. I mean, we believe God for things to be added to our lives, and slowly over time they are added and they are for our enjoyment. God does want us to be fulfilled and we know He wonderfully and abundantly takes care of us. But, these comforts and fulfillment should not lull us into a false sense of security. We need to always see ourselves dressed and ready for battle. Not at ease waiting for someone else to pick up the fight. No, it is still up to us to fight, God is still wanting you to go forth at the same strength as when He recruited you. Comfort and fulfillment in this life should make our going forth easier. It should provide us with the ability to run faster and more efficiently for God, not become a warm blanket to pull over us and go back to bed.
No question about it, as you move on in life you stop exerting as much energy into life as you once did. Now for some who are in the middle or latter part of life this is obviously due to your physical body aging. For some, maybe something has caused your physical body not to be whole. But energy is really more about activity not so much about physical strength. However for those aging you tend to do less and your physical body will respond the same. You become more sedentary, you start picking up weight, slowing down while the whole time telling yourself this is okay, after all this is what happens. Here is a question, what are you doing to stay as active in building His Kingdom as you possible can? The truth is, our activity slows down and eventually stops because we slow down and eventually stop. Remember, we are addressing why Christians go to sleep. In God, we can be as active as we want to be for Him. Maybe you can't run a marathon physically, but are you still running it spiritually? I will take this place to say, maybe you need to get running physically again, drop some weight, start getting back in shape. Many times you will find the two of these are linked together. Because you have allowed your physical body to decline your spiritual state is right there as well. You don't have to stay there, you can be a steward of your temple for Him, both physically and spiritually.
WISDOM AND EXPERIENCE
As we mature spiritually and physically we should have more wisdom and experience than when we were younger. But this is so we can build and produce more wisely. It is meant for our benefit as well as others who needed to learn from us. A danger here can be when we use the wisdom and experience on ourselves and help no one else. You might think that no one is listening to your wisdom and experience but your wisdom and experience you have gained is always to serve your fellow man. It isn't just about how smart you are now. God’s wisdom and experience that He allows us to gain for ourselves, if not shared, is worthless. While no one may be asking you what you think or what is the best way something should be done, demonstrate it. Demonstration is the way Jesus did it. When demonstrated properly people want to know what you know. We should never quit serving or demonstrating the life of Jesus in us because we have gained some wisdom. Instead, we serve wiser from our experience.
Things change and we haven't because we just don't care to change. Maybe the way you viewed certain things that at one time were correct, no longer are. Mark Twain said, “the only person that likes change is a baby with a wet diaper”. The items on your top of the value list may not be what others around you value as important, even if they are to you. Things just flat changed and you need to rise up and re-evaluate your list again. Everything at sometime or another needs updated. This includes us. Just because they were important at one time does not mean they are important now. Although this does not mean everything on the list is wrong. Obviously, there are certain positions and items that need to stay the same. But it's the things that we hold precious to us that may be keeping us from changing that need to be re-evaluated. I'm 59 and hear people make statements such as, “it was good enough for us, it's good enough for them”. When we shut down completely from change we miss the things that are of true value. We must remember God is working on us at all times and there is never a time to think we have all we need. Never think that there can't be more. Of course this will require change. We need to take a hard look at the things we value, is it personal, is it God? Does it need updating, do I need to dump it and change my ways, or add something new? We should always be open to change, not just for the benefit of ourselves but so we can help those who are still learning to walk with God.
BUSYNESS OF LIFE
It could be that as this section is so named, you find yourself in life part 2. Your children are raised and have moved on in life. You realize you are not as busy as you once were. There seems to be more time than earlier in life. Maybe you're at that stage in life where you are very busy. You are raising children, pursuing your career, taking care of the house and the list goes on and on, or it seems to. Either scenario requires us to always stop and look at what God is saying and wanting from us. There is never a time whether busy or not busy, to let our relationship become distant with God. Younger, older or in between, it's always about God’s will for your life. If you are older and it seems not much is happening, then I challenge you to find something or someone in God to serve. You are still to build His Kingdom. It's not over, He is still planning your life. If you are young or in between you may be wondering when you have the time. If you don't take the time to ask Him and find out, you could be missing some excellent opportunities that he has planned for you. Remember we are living for Him, and no matter what stage of life you are in, we are living for Him.
Strong Memories (good or bad)
" Ahh,Those Good Ole Days”, "I remember when", "back in the day", “ I will never forget what happened”.
When people live in the past they get struck in the present. It's not that everything in the past is bad, although, there can be some bad memories. But there are also those good memories that are just as hindering to people. Some have lived so long in the past (good or bad) they don't see how it now hinders them now. The reasons may vary, but here are some common ones.
- You believe it was a better place
- You were happier
- Life was more enjoyable, fun
- You felt more productive, useful
- There were more things to do then
- You had achieved certain accomplishments
- Things were simpler, easier to understand
- You can predict conclusions or outcomes
- You cannot get over a hurt or loss-because you keep reliving it, it stays alive inside you
- You were traumatized, or victimized by someone or something
We need to be aware that all of these revolve around your memories. The way you felt at the time with what was happening. These feelings produce a powerful memory that is etched in a way permanently in your mind. So alive are these memories, that you can actually go to them and relive them. Of course the more a person does this the more this becomes where they are at now, in this present time. Nothing wrong with the right perspective on memories of the past. They are to teach us and remind us of how to live now and in the future. They are not meant to keep us in a holding pattern, like a plane circling the airport but never landing, it just stays in the air. If you need to let go of something, then do so. If you need help in doing this, get it. We must move on, because God wants to give us many more new memories.
So here are a few things you may need to do to get back on track.
1. Make the decision that you are not going to sit in this slumber any longer. Come on, awaken yourself. Weed out any and alll thinking that keeps you sleeping. Begin to pray for change, passion, and fire. Pray and tell God you are not going to remain in this place anymore. Ask him to help you identify the areas of your heart and life that have caused you to slumber. Ask Him to renew your heart.
2. Go back to scripture and look at Jesus’ absolute life, zoe life, the God kind of life. His life never changed and never will change. It still has all the power to live life to its absolute, overflowing, fullest measure. He is the source of all life. This is a truth that always remains the same. He is a signs, wonders, and miracle working God. But the question is, how strongly do we believe this? Do we still see Him this way? Do we still believe He has a plan for our lives and we have only seen part of it? Get back into the life of God.
3. Start finding any and all ways to encourage yourself. I'm not talking about feeling happy for a day. I'm talking about putting faith back to work in your life. Begin to desire and believe for things beyond yourself right now. Even things that may seem impossible for you now.
Go get encouraged. Go build yourself up, daily. Do whatever it takes to get faith going. Attend a conference, maybe one you never would have before, listen to sermons, read some books on faith, and above all this, put His Words in you. Read them, confess them, tell yourself that in Him you can do this. I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me.
4. Give away from yourself. Self is your problem. Go bless someone, help serve someone. Don't just sit there in the same state. This is not God’s plan. Dump the self pity, introspection, and yes, laziness if that fits. Life really is too short to allow disappointments, discouragement, people, or things to dominate your position now. It's your life, take control back. You gave this life to God, believe He is still wanting to use you. Allow Him to be in control.