How to overcome spiritual laziness
Have you ever wondered why it is very difficult to keep your eyes open during your personal devotion? It is because being born again and of the Spirit of God is one thing, accepting to walk in righteousness with devotion is another.
It is not automatic! So when next you wonder why you can’t retain your Spiritual fervor for more than a week, be assured that it has nothing to do with your Salvation, you might just be a spiritually lazy person and I hope that by the end of this blog post, you’ll be quickened in your spirit and mind to spiritual hard work, devotion and fervency.
Why is Spiritual laziness a big deal though?
I mean, you can as well just be born again and live your life like a ‘normal human being’ Why the stress of fervency?
“Isn’t it enough that I have surrendered my life to Christ, why strip me of more of the freedom I would like”, you ask.
I recall the other day, a friend asked what the fuss is about church. He mentioned that he is not a fervent church goer and he is very comfortable with it. No stress.
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According to him, his relationship with God is not like the regular. He said his is unique and that he communicates with God in his mind. He talks to God every time like his father and so he has not seen the need for the regular church attendance or attendance at all.
This is the mindset of a spiritually lazy person and I empathize with him because devotion and spiritual hard work do not come naturally, you discipline yourself into it and enforce it. It is not second nature.
See Philippians 2:12
King James Bible
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Look at the New Living Translation
“Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.”
Did you see where it says to work hard to show the results of your salvation? You don’t have to work for your salvation, don’t worry, you have been freely given. You, however, have to work to prove that salvation makes sense in your life.
What’s the usefulness of being saved if you are not even earning the common blessings of obedience and reverence to God. It would be so unfair to miss out just because you can’t get yourself to leave your present state of comfort and spiritual laziness.
So I wanted to press, push further. I had a lot of questions to ask my friend. I wanted to ask him:
From where do you fill your spiritual tank?
Are you satisfied with the spiritual level that you are at right now? Don’t you want to come up higher or at least be in the process? Don’t you want meat? Is milk enough for you? Because God isn’t going to be mad at you for sucking with just gums but are you truly, totally, fine with it?
See Heb 5:12; 1 Cor 3:2
What do you think about church attendance? A religious tick off on the list? Okay, let me stay here for a while. Some of the people who go to church do so because they have to ‘please God’ and it would be religiously wrong to sit at home on a Sunday.
In going, they assume they have paid back some righteousness and satisfied a higher purpose of Christianity as it were. So, I understand that there are people who go to church in vain. This is not why I have raised the issue.
You see, attending church regularly causes a frequent shift and mind refreshing. If you see going to church as ticking off the list, you may lose out on some more interesting things.
If after a Sunday service, a renewal of the mind produces fruits and results that amaze you – some, outrightly visible results, others, salient and hidden – you are pushed to want to keep going. And so a weekly attendance ends up not satisfying the thirst and hunger that has built up.
You want more and before we know it, you are the regular churchgoer. I remember a Doctor who attended 12DG with us all through the program at COZA. She has two kids and works in the hospital. Oh did that drive me! What was going to be my excuse? And listen, that wasn’t a religious activity, that was search. It was panting after the Word. That was a longing.
To others, you may come off as the individual who’s a fanatic; to you, you can’t get enough because a watering, quenching of thirst and effectual results are ongoing in your life. Your soul is healthy, your spirit flourishes. You can’t wait for the next time you are going in for some spiritual food. It’s amazing.
In cases like these, a year-long withdrawal from church is going to cause dryness. There is going to be a drastic change because chaos will come in. The human mind is naturally chaotic.
Being spiritually lazy is bad but being ignorant about it, about how much more you can be, about the degree and kind of blessings you are missing out on is worse.
What can you do to overcome spiritual laziness
1. Put your quiet time on your to-do list
At least, that’s what I do. When I do not tick off everything I have on my to-do list, I usually feel unfulfilled. That brings me to this – do you even have a to-do list?
A to-do list will bring some order in your life, trust me. If you have never explored the terrains of planning your day the day before or the attendant morning, you are missing out on a whole lot of productivity.
Instead of having my quiet time as a by-the-side customary activity that happens when I wake up, I get it on my to-do list. Not doing my quiet time is not finishing up my task for the day and oh yes, I should go to bed unaccomplished.
Now, listen, about quiet time and the religiosity that comes with it…
You see including your quiet time on your to-do list is not a call to obey some rules that have been set by ‘God knows who’. It is for self-accountability.
Because of the hustle and bustle of the day, the stress of carrying out tasks and meeting all sorts of goals etc. It is very possible to go a week without hearing what the Lord has to say and trust me there is usually a difference. There’s a difference in your decision patterns, thought processes, actions, etc. You don’t want to be dry spiritually. It’s a stressful place to be.
So to make sure that communication flows between you and God, a daily quiet time might just help to solve the problem. If the only time you ever have a back and forth communication is just that one time, it’s a good start.
Deliberately putting it on your task list is ensuring that you are committed to observing it. And it’s like telling yourself, if I can’t sneak in time to do something to nourish my spirit because of the demands of living, I can as well take out this little time to cause a spiritual stir.
So you see this is not about observing some ritual, this is about using a cliche to work for your filled life. Also, if you ask me, a 5-minute effectual communication transcends a 30-minute customary observance. Make that time count.
About dozing off and what-not’s. I brush my teeth and do a few tasks before my quiet time. This brings me alive and ready. I brush, iron, and sometimes even bath if I still feel sleepy. That way, quiet time easily falls into the day’s activity.
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You can’t pray away the quiet time dozing or laziness or anything. You have to work at it. And this starts with making up your mind first.
2. Set yourself up for spiritual bursts
This is what I mean by spiritual bursts. They are like shots and intermittent triggers. Okay, it’s enough to do your quiet time and at least have a daily communion thereby maintained but you might want to explore more, you know.
Set an alarm that reminds you to practice some few seconds of Thanksgiving, tongues, anything spiritual. That’s a shot.
You can subscribe to Faith blogs. One is enough if you don’t like the distraction of too many emails. My favorite faith blog right now is Driven Women by Phylicia Masonheimer . My best Nigerian based Faith Blog is Ife Grace
I get some shots from in there. There are a lot of apps these days too. Let your phone work for you. Install Bible apps. Subscribe to godly newsletters. One or two are enough, no pressure. COZA sends me shots during the day.
Oh, such a blessing! I get an email to remind me of something very spiritually profound. Sometimes they ask me to take a break from working and listen to a new song just released. The video is usually embedded within the email so it’s easy. I just click away. Sometimes, it’s just a paragraph of spiritual truth they remind me of during the day. These emails are spiritual shots for me. Look around and set them up.
This is a deliberate ploy to reconnect with your spirit man. Everything is in place to get you into absolute withdrawal. I mean, what happens after you step out of church is life. And life is necessary but very distracting!
3. Place yourself amongst people you can be accountable to spiritually
You will have friends at work, you can discuss career with them. You will have friends at school, Y’all can talk books. You should have friends who you discuss God with. Take it a step further, build a bond.
This is to not limit yourself to the regular God discussions. Be accountable to one or two. The person I am accountable to spiritually is not even from my church. We built a friendship that transcended.
It’s okay to have spiritual friends and then spiritual best friends. I have spiritual friends with whom I don’t agree with on many things. We can’t be best of friends. It would go south.
I must warn you however, spiritual people quarrel too.
I am hoping to get around to writing and addressing this one of these days. Sometimes, people think that because the common thing they share is God, misunderstanding, and fallouts should never happen. Guess what, Y’all are still in the human flesh.
It’s only easier to reconcile because you both have a common manual. It’s very clear what you must do.
All of these tips will set you up to spiritual work. You cannot afford to be spiritually lazy if you are going to rise above milk, basic, common, mediocre, so get to work.
If you don’t eat food, your physical body will die. If you don’t feed your mind, your brain will wither. If you don’t feed your spirit, it will dry up.
And because it can’t be empty, it will be filled with all sorts of rubbish – flimsy doctrines, seemingly intellectually based arguments against the existence of God and the efficacy of the power of Christ. Don’t leave it empty, work at it.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”
Listen, spiritual laziness is a very common thing amongst Christians, so do not be ashamed about it. Recognize there is a need to up your game, then find strategies to up it. Nothing to be embarrassed about. Don’t allow anyone deceive you or give you the illusion that they have it all together. We are all working at it.
So, get up now. Get up.