After a couple days of rather difficult applications (obedience, repentance), Day 6 of the Morning Quiet Time Challenge brings us encouragement. Today we are reminded that our commitment to our secret place will produce a harvest! This challenge is about a serious pursuit to revitalizing our relationship with God, but we don’t want to forget that all the time and dedication we’re putting in will bring us reward!
If you missed any of the earlier posts, take a few minutes to catch up before continuing:
NOTE: I’m basing this challenge on my friend Bob Sorge’s book “Secrets of the Secret Place,” if you’d like to follow along. I bought this book the first night I met and heard Bob speak, and it was a real blessing at a time I was struggling to get back into a daily morning prayer and Bible-reading time. I highly encourage you to buy your own copy today. I promise it will be one of the best investments you make. (Buy it here now. It’s on sale!)
A Spiritual Slump
It’s normal to fall into a spiritual slump. It happens to all of us. Maybe not as frequently for some, and maybe some slumps don’t last as long as others….but I feel pretty safe in everyone struggles with a slump now and then. If you’re in a slump right now, that’s okay. You are not alone. I hope today’s devotion will bring you encouragement. (I know it did me!) Just committing to this challenge was taking a big step in the right direction. I promise, your slump doesn’t have to last forever.
It’s Our Own Fault
So that’s encouraging, right? *LOL* Okay….not encouraging; but honest. When we get in a slump, it’s 100% our own fault; not God’s. Maybe we fell into Satan’s trap of busyness, where we began to neglect our secret place because we had so many “more important” things to get done our day. Or maybe it was the snare of self-defeat, when we began to believe we must not be “good enough” Christians because nothing ever seems to come of our prayers. Or maybe Satan stoked the flames of hurt and resentment until we felt so burned we blamed God for everything; He must be ignoring our prayers; why else would our lives be so miserable? We could spend hours sharing (supposed) reasons why we have a distant (or non-existent) relationship with God, but in the end, it would all come back to our own choices.
Satan is very clever in disguising what he’s doing, but Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to protect us from his evil schemes. Jesus took on human form and lived life just as we do, to the extent of dying for our sins. And it didn’t end there! Jesus overcame death – and Satan – and rose from that grave and sits right now at the right hand of God! Not only that, He cared for us so much – and knew the struggles we’d face in this life – that He left His Holy Spirit here with us, to literally dwell in us, so we need never feel alone, or powerless, or lost again.
And yet….we still struggle to feel close to Him sometime. Kinda boggles the mind, doesn’t it? Just proves to me how powerful enemy forces are in this world, and how much I need to hold onto Jesus to keep from falling prey to them.
God Promised Us Harvest
The only way out of a spiritual slump is to put in some effort. Think gardening or farming. God promised we will reap a harvest in return for our sowing (time in our secret place). As a farmer’s daughter, this totally resonates with me.
A farmer spends a lot of time and money just preparing to plant his crop. He spends hours planning and budgeting. He performs back-breaking work making sure equipment is ready. He is sometimes waylaid by nature before he can even get the seed in the ground. And what does he have to show for all those months of effort once he does plant? Nothing; a barren field. But it’s not really barren; it just appears that way for a while. The farmer knows that as soon as the seed is planted, the growing season has begun! He knows the Creator of the universe will somehow bring seed and soil and sun and rain together to bring about a harvest. He also knows his work is not done. After he plants, he will still have to invest more time and more money and more hard work. But over the months, he will see his crop sprout up above the earth, then grow green and full, and eventually it will be time to harvest. After all that hard work, his patience will have paid off: He will reap his reward!
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. – Galatians 6:9 NKJV
It’s A Process
Like most things in life, if you’re in a spiritual slump, it didn’t happen overnight. And neither will getting out of it. It’s a process. (You were waiting for that, weren’t you?) I have found that when I am feeling defeated about my prayer life, or feel like I’m in an emotional black hole, the best thing I can do it to get intentional about spending time in God’s Word and in prayer.
At first, it kinda feels like I’m forcing it. I am. Part of me just wants to be lazy and wallow in my misery. But the other part of me? It is determined to do whatever it takes to get out of that pit and back into My Happy Place: walking with Jesus in the warmth of God’s Light. If I have to set my alarm earlier to remind me to pray in the morning, I set it. If I have to write down my prayers because the conversation just doesn’t flow naturally anymore, I write them. I’m all the time preaching “Choose wisely” so I just have to swallow my pride for letting myself fall into that slump in the first place, and practice what I preach….whether I feel like it or not. I will be the first to admit: My feelings are not always a good barometer of what’s best for me. *rolls eyes at self* Sometimes I just have to force myself to get back in the habit of spending quiet time with God before I do anything else. And slowly, I reap the benefits of that choice.
It’s crazy how natural it feels to not do it, isn’t it? Just more proof that we are flawed humans who fall and fail regularly. But we’re not just flawed humans….we are daughters of The King! We have the power of the Holy Spirit in us! We have a Savior who thought we were to die for!
So if we want to get out of our slump, we can. It just takes getting our priorities back in line. (I know, easier said than done.) Our highest priority should always be Jesus, right? If you’re like me, you’ve learned the hard way that everything else in life follows our relationship with God. If we slack in the amount of time we spend with Jesus, everything else slacks off, too. But if we intentionally commit to improving our relationship with Him by giving Him our undivided attention for even just a few minutes every morning….the rest will fall in line. After a while, we will realize we’re not in our slump anymore. (Oh, happy day!) Our perspective changes when we commit to our time to God.
Have Faith For The Harvest
I guess what I’m saying is we need to have faith for the harvest. Regardless of how we feel, we can choose to act on our faith and spend time in our secret place with the only One who can pull us up out of our spiritual slump. It takes patience and discipline to prepare our hearts for harvest, but “God’s Word is powerful seed which will eventually produce a mighty harvest if the soil of our hearts is right. ”God's Word is powerful seed which will eventually produce a mighty harvest if the soil of our hearts is right. - Bob Sorge, Secrets of the Secret Place Click To Tweet
I can’t say how long the seasons will last between harvests in your life, but I can promise if you do your part – commit to your secret place – there will be a harvest. It may seem boring and fruitless at times, but time spent in the secret place is never wasted. There is always a sweet reward coming!
He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread…. – Proverbs 12:11
Today, pray for God to build up in you the discipline to meet Him in your secret place each morning; to prepare the soil of your heart, and to bless the seeds He sows there. Be honest with Him. If you don’t really feel like doing it, ask Him to give you a desire for time with Him. It’s even okay to ask Him to show you a sign to let you begin to feel your investment in your secret place is bearing fruit. Then be on the lookout for His God signs in your life; signs of the coming harvest! And remember….