For my spiritual life, when I go to judge myself, I often find myself thinking back to those momentous occasions in my spiritual life: times at some big Christian event or some incredibly intimate church service. I’ll harken back to the way I felt during worship or the way some pastor’s words moved me. So, on those mornings where I’m “especially tired” or those instances where I simply feel this need to meet with God, I choose instead to look back to those previous religious experiences rather than embrace the new challenge that Christ wants to present to me.
The hard work does not seem necessary. I have no need to continue my pursuit on this day because I ran hard after Him in those days.
That may sound absurd, but every time, my inaction proves this to be the attitude of my heart.
Marking it out in this way makes it seem obvious, but it’s not. There is indeed a thin, fine line between this false attitude and an attitude of genuine faith. I promise you that this line is not easy to observe. If it were, then this struggle would not exist. Because of sin and Satan, though, this struggle remains, and God allows it to remain.
This book serves as a means of analyzing this fine, thin line. For though the example I provided earlier speaks of a quiet time and spiritual discipline, I have found in my own life that this line exists in matters much deeper than whether or not I have a quiet time, not that quiet times are unimportant. I just find that whether or not I am earnestly seeking God through spending time with Him in His Word is a symptom of some deeper cancer.
And so, rather than going any deeper, I will simply tell myself that my recent string of consecutive days without a “quiet time” stems from a mere lack of discipline, a matter that I can fix at any time. If I were to be honest, though, there is actually a part of me that has completely ceased desiring God at all. I want fellowship with Him, but the part of my nature that does not want Him has grown bigger. So, as a means of pithy lip service, I find myself satisfied with reading a few lines of the Bible and some inspirational words from a devotional. Better yet, I can have the Bible app on my phone read the words to me itself and thus distance myself even further. I can then continue my day satisfied with the lie that this mirage of devotion has made me close with my Creator and Savior. For good measure, I’ll be sure to put on the worship music in my car during my drive to work or school.
I have painted this portrait up as ridiculous, but the truth is that I have lived out many of my days satisfied with this exact course of action in my approach to my “relationship” with God.
I am allowed to be ignorant of His Spirit. I become pleasantly numb to it, and then I will go to church on Sunday and rejoice that I have been forgiven.
To perpetuate this lie and satisfy whatever sense of conviction might arise, I tithe, give money to the mission, attend conferences outside the usual church service, go to a Bible college, get an M. Div., take a ministry position, charge out into a foreign nation full of zeal for the Gospel, and in all these ways make my life entirely about God. Tragically, however, when I approach the throne of God, He will look me in the eye and tell me that He never knew me.