Thursday, March 27, 2008

Persistence in Following God

I feel convicted to be completely honest with those who read my blog. I realize this is another long entry and you may quit reading my blog altogether because of the length of some of my entries lately but I have to communicate what I feel the Holy Spirit telling me to write to you. I promise I will try to keep future blogs shorter. Please start with the excerpt from the letter I got in the mail yesterday.

Taken from Grace to You / John MacArthur letter dated March 17, 2008:

"The symptoms of spiritual deterioration are many and familiar to most believers: serving Christ becomes more mechanical and less meaningful. The thrill of being a chosen child of the living God is only a faint memory. The sense of day-by-day, hour-by hour dependence on God fades to a vague awareness of His presence. Time spent in Bible study and prayer grows dutiful and predictable. Passion gives way to indifference. The purpose and simplicity of the Christian life gives way to confusion and clutter. In short, before you realize it, the honeymoon is over and the flame has cooled, and you've lost your first love for Christ."

"Loving Christ is the heart and soul of the Christian life, and He rightly wants and deserves our affections. While every Christian loves God, the intensity of that love can and does wane if we're not vigilant. Just as undernourished love in a marriage can grow heartless and cold--and lead to disaster--so can a believer's love for God weaken, or even atrophy, if it is not actively fed and cultivated."

"What makes losing our first love for Christ especially dangerous is its subtlety. Like old age or poor eyesight, the loss of spiritual fervor comes not with a shout but a whisper."

"Does any of that sound uncomfortably familiar? If so, play acting or going through the motions is not the answer. We can't fool God--He knows the intensity of our love and he longs for nothing less than for us to serve Him with sincerity, vigor, confidence, and joy."

"It takes work to maintain the intensity and intimacy with Christ you want and need. Guarding yourself from spiritual indifference means fighting the battle on many fronts. And none is more pivotal than your own personal study of Scripture. "

"God's word is what first ignited our love. It penetrated our stony heart and awakened us to who God is. It's what showed us our wretched condition. It shine light into our sin-darkened heart and offered the hope of salvation."

I've been convicted that I have portrayed I am a strong Christian women who has it all together and you might be thinking "Wow, look how strong she is considering what has happened!" But I'm not. You know from reading my blog, I felt God's presence so strongly during my tubal pregnancy and even the week after. And I truly did. It was an incredible and powerful experience that I feel I still cannot put into words eloquently enough. But since then I've let my guard down. Due to various events and situations in the past month (not just my tubal pregnancy), I am having such a strong inward battle. I have had and am still having some of the feelings/thoughts John MacArthur describe in his letter. I think I look okay on the outside but inwardly I'm a mess. There are no excuses before God. I have not sought after Him like I know I should have. I took His grace and His activeness in my life for granted. I loved it when God would give and give to me (comfort, ease of pain) but I didn't give Him anything in return. I've shirked my bible study time (when I did it, it was only half way) and I've prayed only when I saw an immediate need for a family member or friend. I prayed but without realizing it, I gradually slowed down my communication with God. I want to overcome the spiritual battle I feel I am in right now. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have cried with Bryan over this struggle I am having. It is a battle I cannot win on my own.

So...what am I doing now?

---Begin acting upon convictions. I think it is one thing to have them but it is another to ACT upon them

---Listening to Christian Music as much as possible. I have over 6 hours downloaded on my computer and I listen to some of it every day. I have a hymn cd in my car and try to turn it on when I'm driving. I've listened to Christian music for some time but I don't believe I have felt its power and it speak to me more than I have in the past 2 1/2 weeks. That's one of the reasons why I enjoyed singing at Granny's church last Saturday so much.

---Reading a Psalm each morning that corresponds to the date. I've got to ensure I am having a strong quiet time. Not something rushed. I've had a hunger for the Psalms since I finished the Beth Moore Stepping Up study.

---Reading "Having a Mary Spirit" I've read the author's first book "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" a year or so ago. I started reading this newer book this past weekend and I read some more Wednesday night. I feel like she must have known me when she wrote it.
I plan to use this blog to hold me accountable in my walk and progress in rising above where I am at right now. I hope none of you think less of me now. I don't want to be a Christian who says and writes one thing and is something completely different on the inside. I want to be genuine through and through. I want to give God glory through this blog. Thank you for letting me share.


Lindsey said...

How did you know that this is just what I needed to read? I'm sliding and I've got to stop so thank you for blogging about this. It spoke to my heart:)

Angela said...

Yep, it does take by day, minute by minute to rely on Him. I like your long posts :)!

Lena said...

Julie - it takes so much courage to open yourself up like you just did, but you know what? We all struggle, we all fall behind, and we all don't give God all the glory. I will be praying for you, girl! And I will be praying for your "plan" and that God will reveal Himself in mighty ways to you!

BTW, I'm reading "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" - L-O-V-E IT!

Caroline said...

"Even before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear". Isaiah 65:24

Oh how he will honor your transparency !!!!! You are even more beautiful to me after hearing your heart and your truth! His word is new each morning Julie..cling to him!

Kelly said...

This is so honest and so right. I love all the steps you laid out. I'm right where you are. Thanks for reminding me that God desires QUALITY TIME with me! And I need to show him that He is the most important thing in my life and represent it with my time instead of TV, blogs, magazines, or whatever else seems to consume my time.

Melissa said...

Thank you for sharing! Doesn't feel so easy just to open up on here? You probably don't even realize one little post can affect so many people in their own walk with God. Thanks!

Candy said...

I love your long posts! They really make me "think". Thanks for sharing about the book. I've read the first one and didn't know there was another one. I look forward to reading it. I've been praying for you!! :) Have a great weekend.

Welcome to Our Lives... said...

You are an amazing woman- don't let Satan tell you otherwise! We all have dry times and times of Spiritual battles. I commend you for acting on your convictions. Thank you for this post- it is something we all need to hear and remember!