Sometimes my spiritual life feels boring. I go through the motions but I’m not really growing. My heart doesn’t love God more nor am I really thinking about His glory or His will throughout the day. My learning is informational truth but fails to become transformational truth.
When I get into those slumps (as I’m sure you do too) it’s time to make a switch. Here are five changes I make (at different times) that help me recharge and refresh my time with God.
1. Read the Scriptures out loud, or listen to it audibly on CD. Sometimes when we read the same Bible verses over and over again they start to get stale and fail to grab our heart in fresh ways. By listening to God’s word out loud you will hear things differently and will fall more deeply in love with who God is.
2. Memorize a portion of Scripture that has an action step. For example, James 1:19 says, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”
3. Slow Down. Sometimes when I read my Bible, I’m rushing to get a certain amount read each day. Although I loved reaching my goal of finishing the entire Bible last year in 90 days, sometimes I am none the wiser because of it. Slow down your reading. Focus your attention on a few words, or a single phrase. Psalm 139 is a wonderful Psalm to savor. Begin with the first line, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me.” What does that mean to you? Can you trust that God completely knows you and that you never have to fear the loss of his love?
4. Meditate. Meditation focuses our intellect, reason, imagination and will on a particular topic, story, verse, or image, allowing God to speak to our heart in specific ways. The Psalmist says, “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word” (Psalm 119:15,16).
Once I was struck by the story of those who brought their friends to Jesus for healing (Matthew 15:29-31). I imagined people bringing their sick friends before Jesus filled with hope about this miracle man who healed people.
Maybe their sick friends didn’t want to come, maybe they were skeptical, yet it was the arms and legs of their friends that carried them to Jesus when they could not, or would not bring themselves. I asked myself, how could I do this for my friends? How could I carry those that I knew were sick, crippled with fear or blind with unbelief to Jesus? Praying for my friends now became more than words, it became dynamic action.
5. Go silent. What would it be like for you to spend a day or weekend with no cell phone, computer, television or talking? To be alone with God? We live in a world that bombards our senses. Rarely do we take time out of our demanding lives for quiet and solitude. Yet God says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It’s often in those quiet times where God shows up. Practicing silence even for five or ten minutes at first can be quite unnerving.
Yet, by carving out periods of time whereby we are quiet, both our inner life and our outer life become renewed. It is in this space that we not only come to understand our own thoughts better, but to begin to grasp the mind of God.
Learning without application isn’t real learning. It’s head knowledge, not heart change. The Lord asks, “For who is he who will devote himself to be close to me” (Jeremiah 30:21)? Will you?
Martin Luther wrote:
“This life therefore,
is not righteousness but growth in righteousness,
not health but healing,
not being but becoming,
not rest but exercise.
We are not yet what we shall be,
but we are growing toward it;
the process is not yet finished but it is going on’
this is not the end but it is the road.
All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified.”