Saturday, October 27, 2012

Three Steps to Battle Spiritual Lethargy

Feeling spiritually lethargic? Aimless in your spiritual life?

I understand. I have been there too. Often, it is when I am most comfortable in my financial or material wealth, that I am most lethargic. Spiritually. What can we do? 

Here are 3 things you can consider doing. Call it the three steps to battle spiritual lethargy.


Giving (Credit:
Recognize it. In many churches, the level of giving has been very lopsided. Most of the giving are done by the Baby-Boomer generation, or post-Baby-Boomers. Generations X,Y,Z and those born after the 90s are not exactly that passionate. Many are born with the silver spoon. Many do not even see a need to give at all, much less to a church. Yet, tithing or giving is not something that we have to do. It must be something that we WANT to do. The apostle Paul makes New Testament giving very clear. We give out of a cheerful heart. When we give, let us not be restricted to 10% tithe. We give all we can even as we earn all we can. Give to the Lord, and watch how that attitude of giving, loosen the stranglehold of money on our own hearts, and see our spiritual lives liberated from boredom.

I recommend this step highly, especially for those who have never given before.


Look Out for others
The Apostle Paul reminds us to look out for others. He writes to the Philippians,
"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." (Philippians 2:4)
As a community of Christ, when we care for one another, we practise true "koinonia" (Greek word for fellowship). When we give, we nourish one another. We let the Holy Spirit create a multiplier effect to use our resources and our lives to bless other people. When we truly begin to consider others more important than ourselves, we let go of the stranglehold of individualistic lifestyle or selfish thinking. We begin to grow outward. We begin to see that the world is much bigger than our small selves.

When we learn to look beyond ourselves and our own needs, we are learning to trust God to meet our needs, as we venture to meet the needs of others. This is a strange thing in life. The more we try to cling on to things, and to accumulate our own interests, the less fulfilling we get. The more we try to give and to help others become better people, strangely, we find ourselves manifesting a kind of goodness that we never know we have. 


Depending on God
Finally, it is only when we start to help others, we will realize that the world is larger than our own. The more we try to help others, the more we will realize how weak and inadequate we are. We can then learn to be open to God, that true help and true giving comes from the life-giving reality of the Holy Spirit. After all, if we want to do God's will, we can be sure that the Spirit will lead and guide us to do what it takes to glorify God. See how Paul the Apostle begins his epistles with a declaration of his identity in Christ, and as a recipient of God's grace and peace?
"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:2)
God is our true source of help. It is only when we are free from material entanglement (Step 1), when we start to look more to the interests of others (Step 2), we begin to realize that only God can help us grow (Step 3). Try that.

"Self-surrender is moving out of the center and letting God take the center with self in the margin, with God in control and the self in obedience." (E. Stanley Jones)
If we only live for ourselves, we will find our world getting smaller and smaller. If we begin to live for others, our world will be enlarged a little more. When we start to live for God, something else becomes bigger. Our hearts.


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