Spiritual “dryness” or “drought” plagues every Christian at some point or another in our walk with Christ.
The draw of our worldly desires are always present and sometimes they overwhelm us, even though they shouldn’t. I’ve had many spells of drought throughout my life and up until a few years ago, I would eventually give up because the struggle to find my way back to God just seemed so far away and unattainable.
Here’s a Biblical outline I hope helps you to overcome these dry spells and reclaiming that close relationship with our best friend, our Lord, our God.
We must have the proper assessment value
One of the things that has convicted me the most is my value of my relationship with God during a drought. Probably one of the single most reasons for a drought even occurring is we begin forgetting how priceless that relationship is and sometimes we need to reassess it.
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Jesus gives us the assessment value in these verses, but we must take hold of it and believe it ourselves. Once we truly believe God is this valuable, we realize that we must at all costs seek Him first just as in the parable the man sold all he had to buy the field. This doesn’t necessarily mean we must sell all we own to follow God, but we must be willing to do away with ANYTHING that stands between us and Him.
To further assess the value, Jesus said:
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. Matthew 10:37 NASB
We Must Admit Fault
I can’t count how many times I’ve accused Satan of “being after me” or “really getting me down” during a season of dryness. But the truth is, there’s a very very slim possibility Satan is the one I’m battling. We give him way too much credit. He’s no omni-presence, so he can’t be in more than one place at the same time, therefore he’s far more likely to be focused on high-priority targets that cause far more damage in the fallout than in an individual with lesser social significance.
Getting a pastor/president/etc. to mess up impacts a whole congregation of people as to where an individual only impacts those immediately around them.
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. James 1:14 ESV
It’s our own fault and our battle against our fleshly (human) desires and not Satan attacking us 99.9% of the time. We must be willing a accept and admit our own faults instead of blaming them on the bad guy, otherwise we will fail to grasp hold of true repentance.
Prayer – Even Though We Don’t Feel Like It
This is really hard to do when praying feels so empty. It’s easy for me to convince myself it’s just not worth it since I’m not feeling a desire to do so and that God surely doesn’t care to hear my prayers since I’ve ignored our relationship. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
As I was getting ready for the day this morning, a thought came to me regarding this… have you ever had a really close relationship with a friend or family member, then perhaps one of you move away or just grow distant because you get caught up in life and then it’s almost as if you’ve become strangers? How do you re-establish that relationship? By having conversations and catching up on what all has been going on.
The same thing applies with our relationship to God. Sometimes we’ve lost our close relationship because we ceased communication with Him and we need to re-establish that relationship by communicating with Him again. Prayer is how we do this. Prayer is our line of communication with God and it should be our delight to go before the God of the universe and know He hears our prayers and loves it when we seek Him for our every need.
Fasting – The “Unpopular” Action
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Joel 2:12 NASB
It humors me how this one gets skimmed over and VERY rarely emphasized. We don’t fail to mention prayer and so forth, but fasting??? After all, I sure don’t like missing meals even though my slim figure might lead one to believe otherwise. But one of the practices of a follower of Christ IS fasting.
It’s hard to fast and not be in constant remembrance of why your fasting, which keeps your mind continually focused on God. Fasting alone does not magically repair your relationship, but it does have a powerful role in restoring your spirit and allowing the Holly Spirit to work since one of the key elements to fasting is weakening your body (flesh). By weakening the flesh, it makes it less prone to get in the way of His Holy Spirit renewing you.
For more information on fasting, I highly recommend Scott Harness’s blog posts: Blog Entry 1 – Fasting, Blog Entry 2 – Fasting, Blog Entry 3 – Daniel Fasted, Blog Entry 4 – Why I Fast.
Repentance – Turning Away From Our Failure
We must repent for our drought, our disobedience. To me, the word repent was one of those “Biblical Terms”, which means I didn’t really understand it since it’s not one we use on a regular basis in our society. But it means we must find a strong desire to stay away from that which we are repenting for and strive to keep from doing it again.
Think of someone who is sincere on quitting alcohol. If they sincerely want to quit (repent), they must do whatever it takes to keep away from temptation and it may even mean them giving up their favorite BBQ place because the advertisements and scent of alcohol in the air will taunt them and tempt them to relapse and have “just one drink”. Same goes with us and something we are repenting of, we must fight to stay away from it and that brings me to the last point ….
It Takes Discipline
The hinge pin to avoiding spiritual drought is self-discipline.
I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27 NLT
Paul was fully aware of his struggle with his own temptations and knew what it took to keep focused on Jesus Christ. There are so many trials in our lives that make it hard to keep us focused and it takes us disciplining ourselves to endure those trials and persevere.
The problem is I don’t always remain self-disciplined and will start to be lenient on not making the time each day to spend with God in His Word and in prayer. This is where the downward spiral always begins. It’s not easy by any means, but we must also learn to forgive ourselves when we’ve fallen into a drought and when we fail to come out of it in the amount of time we thought it should take.
Remember, God is just and willing to forgive us therefore we must be willing to forgive ourselves which can be hard when we’ve repeatedly failed and feel like we’re just a huge failure. Jesus explains this in Matthew 18:21-22:
21Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22 ESV
I hope with these different points, you can find your way out of a spiritual drought. These are the steps I usually take that have helped me. Sometimes it just takes us reminding ourselves why and how important God is in our lives and how insignificant everything else really is. We forget the value of the treasure or pearl and what all we once gave to obtain it. God gave everything when He gave His Son Jesus Christ for us. We must regain our focus and reclaim our joy so we can continue to live a life that’s truly worth living.