Have you ever woken up one morning and wondered where your Christian joy had gone? It was like all the joy, vibrancy, and love that you had when you were first saved had up and left. This happened to me, and I think it happens to a lot of us. In this blog, I use my experience to discuss the restoration of the vibrancy of Christian life. Read on to discover what I learned.
“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; And uphold me with a willing spirit.”
This verse tells us that David had a salvation experience of some kind that brought him great joy and that through his actions this joy was lost. I remember my salvation experience. I felt free, and I had a healthy excitement and enthusiasm for Christ burning within me. However, I soon met Christians who did not have this enthusiasm, and I struggled to understand why they did not share my exuberance. Their relationship with God seemed dreary and at times nonexistent. It was like they had not met God at all.
“One day you will mature and be like me,” said one gloomy Christian I met at church. “The passion will soon burn off, and you will mature.”
“No way am I going to get like you! The fire of God’s going to continue to burn in my belly, and I’m going to proclaim the gospel with zeal,” I thought.
I went my way and followed the call of God for my life. I involved myself in church activities and tried to live my life in fellowship with God. But you know what happened? Despite all this, one day I woke up and realized that the fire and the joy were missing.
I lost something during the passage of time. The regular humdrum of everyday life had taken the wonder and pleasure of being a Christian away from me. I became the person I promised myself I would never be. My fire quenched, my enthusiasm collapsed, and my passion disappeared. I became like them. I had matured.
It took time for me to learn that there is nothing wrong with the humdrum of everyday life because we have to live. But I noticed that many Christians live their lives in a grey area between what is right and what is wrong.
We say, “Well, I know in some of my actions I’m not behaving righteously. The decisions I’m making aren’t fully pleasing to God, but I’m not living in sin. I’m not living my life and making decisions contrary to God.”
Instead, we create a third class between righteous and unrighteous. A grey area in which we live our lives. But we need to realize that there is no such thing as a grey area in the sight of God. Our behavior and thoughts are either righteous or else they are not. There is no area in-between.
The grey, in-between area, is an area of neutrality. We are apathetic about missions, about prayer, and we are indifferent about forgiveness and love. We sit on the fence about critical moral issues. This is a terrible place to find ourselves in because we are not in the world, but we are also not fully committed to the Christian life. For example, it is like, you cannot fully associate with non-Christians because your insides cannot condone how they live their lives contrary to how God would have them live. But at the same time, you find it difficult to associate with Christians because your heart is not entirely with them. You feel out-of-place in both realms.
I knew I was missing something and tried my hardest to get it back. I prayed and fasted and did all I could to have the joy, the enthusiasm, the fire of my salvation to return. But the more I prayed, the bigger the lack got because I realized more and more that something was missing from my Christian walk. However, as I prayed, I recognized that David’s original petition contained my solution. David wrote,
“…and uphold me with your free/willing spirit.”
And there it was! I had done all this stuff so that I might live my life in the joy of salvation, but I forgot about the Holy Spirit’s role.
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is with us and in us. His primary function is communicating Jesus Christ to us and the relationship we have with the Father through Christ’s work. He also performs the role of convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. In many ways, these are the functions he performs in our lives. He is the searchlight. The voice that speaks softly to our conscience when we do something pleasing to God or do something contrary to God’s divine nature, in which we now partake. However, our conscience will harden if we choose not to listen to his voice. If we continually ignore him, we will steadily begin to live our lives somewhere between righteousness and unrighteousness, sitting on the fence. Then one day we will wake up and wonder why our Christian joy, the joy of our salvation, has disappeared.
Although we may recognize this happening, many of us are content to live in such a place. This is the main reason people are reluctant to give God free rein in their lives, and even in the church. For when he does get free rein, the first thing he does is electrify the fence. When he does this neutrality is impossible, and we have to get off the fence and step on to one side or the other. The Holy Spirit will bring us into a place where double-mindedness is impossible.
Every day is a day of decisions, and today is no different. But today we must invite God to electrify the fence. Some things are easy and other things hard but one thing is sure. That all things inevitably work out for good to them that love God.