Friday, October 2, 2009

How to Salvage Your Broken Faith

We've all been there. You know the points in your walk with God where you're just left dry spiritually, drowning in the depths of mediocrity. All the passion, all the power in your faith has been sucked out of you. A part of you wants it all back so bad, but another part doesn't even care.

I have been in spiritual ruts like that multiple times in my life. In fact, I'm just coming out of one. I'd just like to share a few thoughts of mine on the subject.

I hit such a dry spot about a year ago. I didn't understand what was happening to me. I had been so filled with the spirit of God, so in love with Jesus, so in touch with spirituality. But then it seemed to just leave. I wasn't on the straight and narrow path anymore. I felt lost in the woods. After a long time of depression, I started searching.

Naturally, as a 21st century kid, the first place I searched was online. I looked up how to restore your relationship with God, how to return to a faith you feel has fallen apart.

I found two different articles I liked a lot. But they said the exact opposite thing!

The first article said that to get back to a relationship with God that you've lost, you need to start at the beginning again. You need to go back to the way you were when you were first converted: humble, and lost, and broken. You need to realize anew that you can't make it on your own, you need to submit to Christ afresh. The beginning is the place where you walked by humble, childlike faith. And back to the beginning you must go.

The other was a sermon by Charles Spurgeon. You've probably noticed that I don't agree with a lot of Spurgeon's theology, but I think he was a great man of God, one who truly walked by faith and had a great deal of valuable insight. Spurgeon said that to get back to a relationship with God that you lost, you must pick it up where you left off. If you forsook reading scripture and so your faith crumbled, then back to the scriptures you must go to find God again. If you forsook your prayer life and so your faith crumbled, then back down on your knees you must go to find God again.

These two articles said the exact opposite thing, yet I think they are both right. When we are at a spiritual low, we must use Spurgeon's method in practice. We must pick up the spiritual discipline we forsook in order to move on again. But to come back to God with our heart, we must go back to the beginning. We must go back to that humble state we were in before we were "great Christians", to let the good news break us again, humble us again, forgive us again.

I was reading Simply Jesus and You by Joseph Stowell a while ago. It is an excellent book full of passion and insight. Joseph Stowell quoted Micah 6, and it just broke me.

Micah 6:6
With what shall I come before Yahweh
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?

Do you feel the frustration in the text? The guy writing is just saying, "all right, what is going to be good enough for me to connect with God? What do I have to do to get it all back?"

Just like I am.

Micah 6:7
Will Yahweh be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He goes on... what is going to be good enough? Can I give God thousands of my possessions for His forgiveness? Should I give Him my firstborn kid?

Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does Yahweh require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

And there's the answer. Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. We can think we have it all figured out, we can put everything into neat little formulas, but in the end, we just have to drop it all and walk humbly with God.

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