“For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.”Hebrews 12:10
As Christians, we have been saved from slavery to sin and from its consequences, but we still sin.
“Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”Romans 6:11-13
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”Romans 12:1-2
These verses have shown me a few things about myself. I am dead to in that I am capable of performing righteousness by the imputation of Christ in my life. Now that I have been made alive, God can use me as an instrument (or tool) of righteousness, In order to be used in righteousness, I must be willing to be chastened and disciplined. I must be willing to daily, humbly offer myself as a sacrifice for the cause of Christ. To be corrected, used, and molded into an example of Christ.
Because that’s what Christians are. We are ambassadors. Representatives.
If we are going to represent Christ, then we need to look like Him. Through discipline. Some discipline comes through God’s intervention in our circumstances. He gives us situations or relationships to mature us for our own good. Other times, He gives us a fervent passion to know Him and be like Him. Those are the easy times, where growing and staying spiritually alive seem to happen without any effort of our own. God gives us a pocket of grace.
And then there are times of winter. Nothing appears to be growing. All is stagnant and bleak. Maybe your heart feels hard toward God. Maybe you have an apathy for His Word. Maybe you feel numb in worship. Or perhaps you find yourself overtaken by a sin you thought had been overcome.
In those seasons, it’s hard. You don’t see growth. You look back and see seasons of vibrancy and passion, or maybe even of difficulty and triumph.
And yet now you seem dormant.
In winter, most trees go dormant, losing their leaves and produce. But are they dead? Hardly. In the winter months, trees spend their stored up energy to grow and establish their roots, anchoring themselves into the soil.
This is why God gives us spiritual winters. When we have no emotion or passion, we are stripped of our “spiritual glory” and fall back onto the basic foundation of our relationship with God.
Which is love and the disciplines.
Love because, while we feel apathetic, love is a choice, not an emotion, When we place our trust in Christ for our salvation, we also commit to loving Him. Love is what causes us to pursue Him and want to become like Him. Which brings is to the disciplines.
The disciplines are basic practices of the Christian life that force us to be close to Christ, regardless of how we feel. Habits or routines to be in, if you will. There is no merit of works here, but these habits keep us established in the person of Christ.
Here are some of the ways we can stay spiritually alive during seasons of winter:
- Daily Bible reading
- Bible study
- Bible memorization
- Corporate worship
- Prayer (personal and corporate)
These are just a few of the many spiritual disciplines that sustain us as we persevere in our spiritual walk with God. Next week, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite resources for pursuing the disciplines.