As I sat in the pew a few months ago, singing the song that projected itself up on the screen, a thought crossed my mind, “Why am I even doing this?”
What happened to me? How did I get here? I used to love church and the fellowship with believers. The time of worship was always my favorite. I wanted to share the joy of the Lord with those around me and I noticed even the small blessings that God sent me. God was good and I knew it.
But here I was, without joy. However, as I struggled through, God reminds me that I’m not the only one who struggles.
King David, after his affair with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, was confronted by the prophet Nathan. (2 Samuel 11 – 12: 25). King David recognized the wrong and we can read his repentance in Psalm 51.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. Psalm 51: 12
My sin was not a sin like David’s but it was still a wrongdoing. I had the sin of apathy. I had allowed apathy to rob me of my joy. Time and the struggles of this world had stolen what was rightfully mine as a child of God. I was just walking through the motions of begin a Christian and this is a dangerous place to be. I, like David, needed my joy to be restored. Maybe you’re like me — in need of restore joy.
But how? How do you get out of the rut and let the joy be restored?
1. Remind yourself of your first love.
Revelation 2: 1-7 is written to the church in Ephesus. They seemed to be doing everything right. They have not tolerated wicked men, they tested teachers, and they have endured hardship.
Yet I hold this against you: you have forsaken your first love. Revelation 2: 4
Although it doesn’t say it in these words, they had lost the joy of salvation. They were going through the motions of their Christianity. In fact, verse 5 says, “Repent and do the things you did at first.”
Do you remember what it was like to first be saved? Can you remember it like it was yesterday? Do you recall the feelings from that moment? What was life like for you when you accepted salvation? There are times when remembering that moment is crucial. It can serve as a reminder of why.
Write it down! All the feelings, situations, and reasons why you chose to follow Christ. In that moment, also jot down the first time you felt God close to you and the first time you were witness to His power.
It’s not as if we need to go back and be spiritually immature again but we do need to burn with the passion we once did. The words of praise need to be ready on our lips like they once were. Which is actually the second thing we should do.
2. Be still and praise
While this may not be the easiest thing to do when God isn’t feeling so close, it is imperative. True praise can only begin when we are still.
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46: 10
Being still before God can be so difficult in this busy, busy world. However, God will be exalted with or without us. I would just prefer if it is was with me. Being still allows for time to think. I can think about the goodness of God. I can think about His love and sacrifice for me. I can think about the ways He has worked in the past.
One of my favorite passages when I need to be reminded of God’s awesomeness is Job 38-41. God speaks to Job and reminds Job of all the ways he is lacking.
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? Job 38: 4-5
God is HUGE and AMAZING. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of it so we know why we add our voices to the heavenly choir.
3. Check your sacrifices.
It’s easy to think that we are making some big sacrifice for God when we get up and drag ourselves to church. We are paying our dues to Him when we muddle through our Bible reading and hurriedly say a quick prayer.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51: 17
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that confess His name. Hebrews 13: 15
God doesn’t want us just to drag ourselves through the motions thinking we are doing something good. He wants us to be broken before Him. He wants us to want to praise Him. These are our sacrifices. We need to see ourselves and not our actions as the sacrifice. When we check what we are bringing as a sacrifice then we can throw out what isn’t please to God and correct our own thinking. We can then bring a pleasing sacrifice — one of ourselves and our praise.
When our focus is on God, it’s not as easy to forget why we do offer those praises and why we have chosen to follow Him.
Are there other ways you get out of your rut? I would love to hear your thoughts!!