Spiritual Lethargy

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I want to take you back a few years to the Wizard of Oz when the wicked witch tried to hinder Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion from reaching the Emerald City by placing a poppy field in their way.  As the four of them entered the poppies, Dorothy becomes sleepy and drops into the ground to rest “just for a minute”.  Lion soon follows though his drop into the poppies was much less graceful than Dorothy’s.  Do you have the scene in mind?  Now here’s my question. How many of us are spiritually just like Dorothy?

True confessions—I have felt just like that for the last several months.

A few weeks ago, as I was waiting for Sunday service to start, God whispered to my heart, “Awake from your slumber.”
As I considered what God was saying I could see how I had been lulled into a lethargic state in my spiritual walk.

“Laziness casts one into a deep sleep.” Proverbs 19:15

“How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep?  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep – So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler…” Proverbs 6:9-11

I think in the busyness of life it is easy for lethargy to sneak up on us (like a prowler).  Here are three ways (by no means an exhaustive list) that lethargy can take root in our lives.

1. Laziness  – even in the midst of busyness
C.J. Mahaney wrote an article called “Biblical Productivity” – here are a few excerpts for the article.  “Busyness does not mean I am diligent.” “Busyness does not mean I am faithful.” “Busyness does not mean I am fruitful.” “Recognizing the sin of procrastination, and broadening the definition to include busyness, has made a significant alteration in my life. The sluggard can be busy – busy neglecting the most important work, and busy knocking out a to-do list filled with tasks of secondary importance.”

2. Over commitment – we have too much on our plates.  God has perfect portion control.  If we have too much on our plates, God did not put it there.  We can become spiritually lethargic because we are too distracted to care for and nourish our own soul.

3. Routine.  You may wonder how on earth we can get off track with routine.  Structure and routine can lull us into spiritual lethargy easily without our awareness.  The Christian walk should be dynamic, alive and growing.
a. We are all still in the sanctification process – “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”   1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
b. God is still in the process of conforming us to the image of His Son. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
c. We should all be growing in Christ likeness. If we are not growing – we are stagnant or dying.  In other words, spiritually lethargic.

Do you want to know if you have a touch of this?  Ask yourself this question:  How am I more like Jesus today than I was last year at this time?

Have you fallen asleep? Or have you just started to run among the poppies?  To whatever degree this applies to you, let me say to you what God said to me.  “Awake from your slumber.”

Blessings, Diane

Diane Hunt is part of the Development and Addiction Recovery teams at America’s Keswick. In addition to being a Biblical Counselor, she is a Women’s speaker for retreats, conferences and events. She is a regular writer for Victory Call and one of the authors of Crossing the Jordan Bible Study. She has been married to her husband John for 30 years. She has 2 adult children, 4 grandchildren, 3 adult step-children with 7 grandchildren making 11 in all. She delights in reading and teaching, but mostly in laughing at the funny things her grandchildren say and do.

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