I have a problem. However, most Christians wouldn't believe it's a problem. In fact, some might scoff in disbelief. I've taken stock of my own walk with God compared to others, and I've come to the conclusion that I'm not like other brethren. I'm strange, different, and quite odd.
I never get spiritually dry.
You know those familiar laments - "I'm so far from God..." "My prayers just seem to hit the ceiling..." "It's like God isn't listening..."
This never happens to me. And while I'm not trying to brag about it, I have noticed my predicament and wondered why? What makes me so different than my fellow Christians? I doubt myself often. "My time is coming," I think to myself. "Just you wait, Becka. Everyone has dry spells."
Yet as each day passes, as each week passes, as each month passes, God is still there, God still speaks, God is right there with me. What is going on? And why don't other Christians live lives such as this? Have I found some secret to keeping God before me and beside me (Psalm 16:8)? I know it's not because I'm "special". God's grace is undeserved. There is nothing in me, save for Christ, that impresses the Lord God Almighty.
So I asked Him, "Lord, please show me why I never get spiritually dry. Allow me to pass this on to my brethren, so they can know how to never lose sight of You."
God, as He's so apt to do with me, gave me a picture in my head. I immediately understood. But let me explain a bit. He also gave me a few Scriptures to help bring the picture together.
First of all, let me describe my typical day.
I listen to sermons. Sometimes only sermon snippets, but I've got YouTube, podcasts, and such to listen to. I love to explore old-timey preachers, so I'm always on the look-out for great, Christ-exalting, Scripture-expositing sermons since there seems to be a terrible lack of them in today's pulpits of cheap grace.
I pray all day. Not only do I try to have a specific prayer time every day (be it morning or evening), I pray all day, every day. God is my "invisible Best Friend". I talk to Him about what's for dinner. I laugh with Him over the antics of my children. He comes with me to the store. I ask His opinion all the time. This never really stops. My kids are used to Mom "talking to herself". My husband thinks I'm weird. But I am ever in God's shadow.
I don't listen to secular music. I often have no clue who the next up-and-coming band is. Kids or hubby will mention so-in-so and I have to admit, "I don't know who that is." Aside from some golden oldies and music from the 80's, I never listen to the world's music. I'm just not a fan. I've been doing this since I was a kid. I would get up and get ready for school by listening to Christian radio. On the way to school, I'd pop in some Christian tapes (don't judge lol). I've never had a huge desire to listen to songs that go on and on about how hot someone is, how they're partying at the club, or the raucous electronic cacophony known as dubstep. So go ahead, world, lick your dirty construction equipment and wear your nasty meat dresses. I'm not interested, nor am I impressed.
I make a choice, every day, to shine Christ. Since I'm a stay-at-home mom, I try to get out of my house at least once a day. Usually this involves going to the store or to my local coffee shop. I know there will be lines. I know I might have to wait. But I don't let it bother me. I have to keep my thoughts captive to Christ, so this is a great way to test my patience and grace with others. Also, I get to touch people with a smile and a kind word, even after waiting in long, annoying lines. I'm not always the model of Christ, but I try to be. If I yell at my kids for no good reason, I always apologize afterward. In fact, if I'm ever in a bad mood, it's likely because I've missed my prayer time, or I haven't been talking to God throughout the day. Even skipping my praise music makes me grumpy. Having that constant connection with God is a big way for me to keep Him close.
I don't read fiction. I am so satisfied with studying God, that it almost feels like fiction is a vain waste of time. Every book I buy is a book by a favorite author/preacher that furthers my knowledge about God or His Word. And I read them voraciously. I'm never without my pen for underlining. I'm not one to freak out about marring a book, so I underline and mark up the margins with notes if I so desire. If this thought makes you cringe, you can always get a blank journal and write your notes/thoughts in there. But ever since I've begun studying my books rather than merely reading them, I've retained more and learned more about God, His creation, and His Kingdom. Every night before bed, I read-read-read. I'm constantly trolling the "bargain bin" on Christianbook.com for good deals. The slightly imperfect books are the best, because there's hardly any imperfections and you get the book at a great price. Once I'm finished with one book, I pick up another. I have a huge pile of books that needs to be read, but I have an equally huge pile of books I've already read. The overwhelming feeling of not having enough time to read them all fuels me to get through the pack as fast as I can, and the giddy desire to find great deals on books ensures that pile will never diminish. It's rather a catch-22. I sometimes wish I could open my brain and pour the books in.
In the same way, I study my Bible. I try to get my nose in the Word every day. I decided not too long ago to buy a Bible with scant notes (in other words, NOT a study Bible), and then highlight the text myself and write my OWN notes in the margins. This has been instrumental in fueling my love for Christ, my need to know Him, and my faith in Him. A Christian must never, never, NEVER skim the Bible in favor of the next best-selling book from the new hot-shot pastor. The Bible is God's written Word. How can any of us have true, abiding love for Christ, the Living Word, if we don't study and treasure His inspired Book? As Spurgeon said, "Visit many great books, but LIVE in the Bible." Amen. If you need help with this, pray Psalm 119 over yourself. God will awaken a renewed love for His Word in your heart if you're sincere and humble before Him.
Do you see a common denominator in my daily activities?
Everything I feed my brain is God. All my fountains are in Him (Psalm 87:7). I learn of Him through online sermons. I pray to Him all day long. I sing to Him whenever I turn on my music. I try to shine Christ to everyone I meet. I study His Word, I don't just skim it. I study deep truths of God in my leisure time.
There are a few Scriptures that give us a clearer picture of how a life that never gets spiritually dry stays that way.
First, the obvious, James 4:8 - "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." People who are spiritually dry might believe they abide in Christ, and thus are unsure why they're dry, but I am skeptical if they abide in Yeshua at all. Taking a look at my experience, if God is distant from a person who saturates themselves in Him, there must be some lesson of God's all-sufficiency they still need to learn. Have they not fully surrendered to His Lordship? Is there someone in their lives they haven't forgiven for wronging them? Is there an old, familiar sin they refuse to repent of? Remember, repenting isn't merely being sorry for the sin, but turning from it all together and walking in the other direction. One who claims to saturate themselves in God, yet seems distant from Him reminds me of these verses in James 1:23-24: "For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like."
Perhaps these folks do spend time in deep study and still remain spiritually dry. But they must not put into practice the precepts they learn in study. They go away and forget what they look like.
Second, Psalm 1:1-3 - "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers."
Here, we see that the man whose delight is God's Law (the Bible), and the one who studies day and night is "blessed". The effect of this delight and daily meditation is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields fruit - and whose leaf *does not wither*.
More Scripture to ponder this Truth:
This isn't a "sometimes" thing. This is a "day and night" thing. We must be diligent to seek God and daily meditate on Him. Not just every day, but ALL DAY. I understand we all have jobs. We're all busy. I home-school my children, do chores, run errands, pay bills, and make dinner, among other things. I know what it's like to be busy. But even so, we should be so saturated in God, we're like a sponge floating in a sink full of water. That sponge will never dry out.
In fact, the picture the Lord gave me was quite telling. Some people only walk beside the still waters. Others might dip their toes. Yet others might wade out into the deeper depths. But God has told me the secret to never becoming spiritually dry.
Stand directly in the waterfall
of His grace and joy,
all day, every day,
and never emerge.
Praise the Lord!