Dispel Spiritual Lethargy
These days, some Christians ardently pursue certain hobbies. These hobbies may be quite healthy, such as sports activities, electronic technology, audio/visual gadgetry, music, photography, travel etc. Hobbies can ameliorate a stressful life, and help relieve the tension after a busy workday. But we do not always recognize that developing these hobbies sometimes brings about negative influences in our spiritual lives. At first, these hobbies may spawn from interest. Then interest gradually turns into allure; allure into habit, habit into passion, and then passion into obsession. In the end, we expend more and more time, money and energy for these hobbies, and we fall more and more into their control, turn into their slaves, and they become the idols in our hearts, so that we lose interest in spiritual matters.
After conversion, some people are not willing to know the bible. Others are willing to know the Bible, but ignore obeying God’s word. Some are willing to know and follow the word of God, but are not cautious and alert in their lives. These people are all susceptible to falling into the snare of Satan, the king of the world, becoming ardent adherents of certain earthly hobbies. Paul reminds us, “Never be lacking in zeal (zeal can be interpreted as earnestness or determination), but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11) If we don’t nurture and develop interest in things related to God, so that these become the training for a heavenly direction, we will gradually turn into the people described above, or fall into painful struggle.
If we want to dispel spiritual lethargy and live a life of heavenly direction so that we can serve the Lord with fervor, we should start with the following:
1. Put God first – Before, we did not know God and were slaves to sin (John 8:34), frequently gratifying the desires of the flesh, seeking and enjoying the pleasures of iniquity. After receiving the grace of salvation, we recognize that Jesus Christ is not only the saviour of our souls, but also the true master of our lives. So we should fear, love and obey Him, offering ourselves wholly to live to the Lord (Romans 14:7-8).
2. Not be deceived – We should understand that even those earthly hobbies that most benefit the body and mind are transient and cannot be brought into eternity. “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17) If we continuously nurture and develop our relationship with the Lord, listen to and act on the Truth, and retain the word of God in our hearts, the Holy Spirit will help us and the Lord will explicitly abide with us (John 14:23).
3. Renew your mind – When we come near to God, God will come close to us. Whoever comes close to God will be attracted by His glory (2 Corinthians 3:16-18), and be lighted, guided and transformed by the Holy Spirit. If we are humble and submit to the Holy Spirit, the renewing work of God can then be implemented on our being (Titus 3:5-6) “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
4. Exhort one another – Christians cannot seek growth alone. We need the mutual admonition, exhortation, comforting and encouragement of our brothers and sisters in the church. It helps us be aware of and apprehend our own blind spots, and is the progression of building up the church (Ephesians 4:16). The intercession of brothers and sisters in prayer and the supplication and thanksgiving of members in union are all helpful to our dispelling the domination of earthly hobbies, so that we can experience more of God’s grace and power.