Seasons of spiritual drought seize the heart and mind of Christians—far too often without notice. It’s often through a busy time of life that a person comes to the realization that they’re spiritually dry and in need of revival. What caused it? Was it the result of a spiritual attack or was it a self-inflicted wound? How can such a state of drought be avoided?
One of the greatest ways to find yourself spiritually dry is by isolating yourself from the local church. It might be through over serving or it could be for lack of commitment to assemble with the gathered church for worship (and fellowship), but either way, you find yourself alone, discouraged, and lacking spiritually. This is one of the greatest tools of the enemy.
God never saved anyone and intended for them to be journeying alone. The Christian life involves community and this community is not a religious club. It’s far more than the gathering of people around athletics or other recreational outlets. The church of Jesus Christ is a body of believers who are united with Christ and as a result—united with one another in the faith. In short, every believer (no matter of age and spiritual maturity) needs other believers for the Christian life. There is a real, raw, and dangerous world that will suck the life out of you and consume you without the support, wisdom, and assistance of the gathered church.
One way to isolate yourself is by not showing up for church services altogether. This follows the pattern that’s condemned in 1 John 2:19, but there are more ways to isolate yourself—even while attending on a weekly basis. For instance, it’s possible to work with children to the point that you have zero interaction with other adults in the life of the church. That’s one form of isolation that you should avoid. It’s likewise possible to isolate yourself by intentionally avoiding everyone in the church by arriving just as the service begins (or a few minutes after) and sliding out just as the benediction is being offered. Such isolation can lead to a spiritual drought. Sometimes such isolation is intentional while for others it could be a total accident. Either way, it’s extremely dangerous for your soul.
Serving without Worshipping
While over serving is always a danger for the zealous Christian who desires to see his or her church reach certain goals, another danger involves serving without worshipping. There are several ways that a person can do this, and one obvious category is over serving. However, it’s also possible to be present in the room with the gathered church for the worship service and to serve through song, instruments, ushers, choir, door greeters, security, and various other ministry outlets within the worship service without worshipping.
It’s very possible to perform a duty or complete a job on a weekly basis while remaining isolated from the church and isolated from worship. We all want to say yes to serving when asked, but there are times when no would be more appropriate. Over serving is often a danger for larger churches, but it can likewise be a danger for smaller churches who don’t seem to have enough people to serve. I can recall a particular woman years ago who served faithfully and worked hard in her area of ministry in the church, but I noticed that she was rarely present with the gathered church body for worship. She was serving, but she was not worshipping. She and her family eventually left our church. This is not a unique example, sadly it’s far too common in evangelicalism.
It must be noted that worship is about us praising God, but it’s also about us knowing God. When we come to know God through his Word, we grow in Christ through the Scriptures. This is critical for all ages and levels of maturity within the life of the church and will be a consistent process until we stand in the presence of King Jesus. Worship is not about feelings and emotions—it’s about knowledge and the consistent pursuit of knowing God. Therefore, how is it possible to continue to pour out in service (teaching or other practical areas of service) without growing in the knowledge of God through His Word? It will result in a spiritual dryness and lethargy that overcomes a person in due time.
One of the most common and yet most deadly ways of reaching a spiritual drought is through the ongoing practice or harboring of sin. The Christian is a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) and is called to walk in newness of life in Jesus (Rom. 6:4). When Christians continue to harbor sin in their hearts, they become polluted spiritually and often this results in a lack of desire for God and his people (through your local church). People who walk in this pattern often find themselves having a lack of love for fellow Christians and a lack of patience in relationships. This pattern often leads a person to be grumpy and constantly finding ways to criticize leadership or other Christians in the church.
Another element of this problem involves the fact that it leads to isolation. When a Christian is living in sin, he or she often desires to surround themselves with unbelievers and as a result they find themselves having little time for God’s people. This is why it’s so dangerous to allow sin to remain in your life. The Christian is called to a life pursuit of God which involves the mortification of sin (Eph. 4:22-24).
Take time to evaluate your spiritual life and see if you’re serving on empty, harboring sin, or isolating yourself from the church. If so, you must remember that the enemy is crafty and is looking for ways to destroy you. Keep your guard up and draw near to the Lord.