RENEWING OUR SPIRITUAL VITALITY
By Nana Yaw Aidoo
We sometimes grow weary and discouraged as Christians, in our journey towards heaven. When we read the book of Hebrews, we get the idea of Christians who had grown so weary that they wanted to return to their former religious economy or at least "ride the fence." Even the indefatigable apostle, Paul, grew weary at some points in his life. Of the troubles he encountered in Asia, he told the Corinthians that they were so severe that he and those with him "despaired even of life" (2 Cor.1:8).
Our Lord must have grown weary at some points too. Being human also, it is written that "...in the days of His flesh,...He...offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death..." (Heb.5:7). He was tempted just like we are, yet He was without sin (Heb.4:15). As a result, we have been given the privilege to "...come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb.4:16).
This weariness and discouragement sometimes lead to so many of us, losing our spiritual vitality. However, brethren, when we realize that we are losing our spiritual vitality, we need to take heed lest this spiritual condition ends up becoming a permanent one. It is written; "Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed" (Heb.12:12-13). This is a grave danger and one we all ought to be wary of.
What then are some things we can do to renew our spiritual vitality, when it is waning? Let me please suggest a few.
1. We need to be prayerful. This is mandatory. It is written; "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him" (Jam.1:5). Jesus Christ our Lord knows our every weakness and therefore in His name, let us approach the Father's throne with humility and boldness through prayer, "that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
2. We need to be mindful of the kind of company we keep. A sage has said, "show me your friend and I'll show you your character." The apostle Paul put it this way; "Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits." (1 Cor.15:33). If we make friends with or walk with people who have no interest in spiritual matters, it should come as no surprise to us when we begin to "toe that same line." Also, we need to be wary of some who profess to be Christians. A brother in teaching about marriage said, "marry a Christian not a church goer." There are some who claim to be Christians but are not really converted. Among the Christians in Corinth, Paul wrote that some did "...not have the knowledge of God..." (1 Cor.15:34). A "Christian" who involves himself in the modern dance, dresses immodestly, and is a habitual forsaker of the assembly among other disorderly things, should be restored (Gal.6:1) not fellowshiped (Eph.5:11; 2 Thess.3:6, 14-15).
3. We need to be serious students of the word and to make conscious efforts to apply such to our lives. We cannot cleanse our paths any other way (Psa.119:9). We cannot depart from sin any other way (Psa.119:11). We cannot be spiritually nourished any other way (1 Tim.4:6). We cannot be approved of God any other way (2 Tim.2:15) and we certainly cannot grow any other way (1 Pet.2:2).
4. We need to constantly assemble with the brethren and to involve ourselves in the activities of the church. By assembling with the saints, we "...consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works" (Heb.10:24). At a very young age, I heard an older brother say, "we come to church to recharge our spiritual batteries." I have never forgotten this statement and each and every passing day proves this true.
5. We need to flee from all manner of sins. The bible constantly admonishes Christians to flee from sin (cf. 1 Cor.6:18; 2 Tim.2:22) and rather pursue "righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness" (1 Tim.6:11). Some Christians instead of fleeing from sin rather "flirt" with sin, supposing that they are too strong to fall, thereby giving the devil an opportunity in their lives to overcome them (Eph.4:27).
6. We need to renew our trust in the Lord and in His promises. In speaking to the elders at Ephesus, Paul after pointing out what he had been told he'd face in each city, made this very great statement; "but none of these things move me..." (Acts 20:24). The apostle Paul inspite of all he went through was still fervent in work for the Lord and was always spiritually vitalized because he had implicit and child-like trust in the Lord and in His promises. He wrote to Timothy; "For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe" (1 Tim.4:10). The apostle did not lose his fervour for the Lord because he trusted in the Lord. Maybe, we end up getting discouraged and losing our spiritual vitality because we lose sight of the things that God has promised to those who remain faithful to Him.
There are other things that can be done in order to revitalize ourselves spiritually when we realize we are failing in that regard but these are a few suggestions. We are not alone as we journey towards heaven. Therefore, let us press on towards the mark (Php.3:14) in full assurance that God has promised that He'll never leave us nor forsake us (Heb.13:5).
God bless us all in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.