Last week, I discussed how it’s easy for Christians to fall into a season of spiritual dryness, and how hard it can be for us to escape. I mentioned that there are different ways we can combat this if we’re willing to fight, and today we’ll be looking at practical steps for what we can do.
Reading Your Bible
I’m going to be blunt for one minute. If you’re not doing this, it’s probably contributing greatly to why you might be in this season. I’m not pointing fingers at any of you. If anything, I’m pointing at myself because I know this is my area of greatest struggle.
The Bible is God’s Word, it’s how He communicates His truths to us. “But he answered, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).’’”
If you’re struggling to commit to reading, remember you don’t have to be a seminary student or a theologian that reads for hours on end. Just start reading. If the Psalms blow you away, read those. If you love reading about Jesus’ life, any of the Gospels work. Love history? Do additional research on Biblical topics to learn more about the cultural context of the situations.
You have to start somewhere. Even if it’s in small quantities, you’re making progress!
Imagine if every time you went to talk to your friend, they gave you a monotone, non-genuine response for every single thing you asked them. It would probably be hard for the relationship to grow if the communication is minimal and unchanging.
If you find yourself doing that in prayer, remember this: prayer is communicating in your relationship with God, it’s not a scripted, dry performance. We can approach Him with our confessions, thoughts, dreams, and desires.
Throughout the day, find ways to talk to Him. Even if it’s only for a minute at a time. It’s the building and strengthening of regular communication with Him that will help you seek Him. I find that when I begin communicating with Him, regardless if it’s the most random topic, it becomes more natural in the future when I praise God or confess sins. Instead of it being a script or actions I’m going through, it flows from my heart out of love.
Sometimes changing the radio from some of your favorite songs to worship music makes all the difference in the world. It begins to change your thinking, your attitude, and your heart. It allows you to look past your pain and fear in life to see the joy and thankfulness you can have in Christ.
Not only is it uplifting and encouraging, it’s an opportunity to praise and thank our Creator for all that He has done. Remember, worship is a reflection of our heart, and isn’t something to be taken lightly as it magnifies God’s glory.
Visual Depictions of The Bible
Let me make a disclaimer.
No film or television series is going to be 100% accurate. It’s physically impossible. There will always be elements of Hollywood in media, to some extent, such as side-plots or the exclusion of material. Not only that, but events occurring 2,000+ years ago can sometimes be challenging to accurately portray.
Being able to visualize the stories of the Bible and characteristics of people is sometimes enough to help you remember that these were real events. Watching Jesus ride through Jerusalem on a colt is much more heartbreaking when you see people’s initial joyful reactions as opposed to reading it (this is not a pass to skip reading your Bible).
These are some of the films and series I highly recommend:
- The Gospel of Matthew (my absolute favorite): a word-for-word film narrative of the book of Matthew.
- The Passion of the Christ: a film depiction of Jesus’ final hours and the significance of the crucifixion.
- The Bible Series: a television series that covers many of the major events of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
- AD : The Bible Continues: the sequel series to The Bible. It focus heavily on the events of the book of Acts, following the story of the birth of the church.
I mentioned earlier that getting into a habit of reading can help in strengthening your relationship with God. The use of a Bible study that challenges you to grow in your faith and understanding of the Bible is an excellent resource to have.
It challenges you to think beyond the words you’re reading, finding the deeper meaning and context in which the authors were writing. I personally love John MacArthur’s studies that cover whole books of the Bible, verse by verse. These can all be found relatively cheaply on Amazon.
When you’re standing at the top of a mountain or at the base of a waterfall, you can’t help but marvel at God’s workmanship. Unfortunately, most of us don’t live within reasonable driving distance of either of those, but that doesn’t mean we can’t admire His creation.
Watch a sunrise. Find solitude in nature. Marvel at the stars in the night sky. When we pause the busyness of our lives to observe the attention to detail that He has, you can’t help but be in awe of Him.
Understanding the Significance of His Crucifixion
Growing up, I had always imagined what the crucifixion looked like in my mind. It sounded horrible, but it wasn’t enough to make me cringe. As I grew older and watched actor portrayals of what Jesus endured, it broke my heart. But when I read the actual science behind what causes death via crucifixion, I knew I would never view His death in the same way again.
Once you understand the significance of what He endured to save us, it puts a lot of things in your faith into perspective. If you’re unfamiliar with the effects that crucifixion had on Jesus, you can read about it here.
Serving Others (Looking Beyond Ourselves)
Simply put, we can become so caught up in ourselves (what we’re experiencing and how we’re feeling in our spiritual dryness) that we fail to see others who need help. There are people who may need encouragement in their faith, or may be unaware of the gift of salvation that God has to offer them.
When we allow ourselves to put others first through service, we are blessed with the opportunity to see God work in wondrous ways. Whether its involvement within a ministry at church, going on a mission trip, serving with a Christian organization, or helping people within your community, you are sharing God’s Light with the world. And when you start sharing it, you’ll notice it’s rubbing off on you as well.
Although some of these suggestions are going to work better for some people than others, true progress in strengthening your faith and relationship with Christ will result from the effort that you place into your actions. Bible reading, prayer, and worship should be used by everyone, but it’s your attitude in these that will determine your outcome. This is not meant to be a source of discouragement; but rather, a source of encouragement.
We can have faith in knowing that if we are genuinely seeking God, we will find Him.