BY KENNETH R. SAMPLES – MAY 8, 2018
Over the years, I’ve had numerous people express to me that they have experienced a weariness concerning their faith journey. This is actually a pretty common phenomenon for Christians to encounter in life. I’ve also experienced such a weariness at times in my Christian life. Life’s pressures of job, family, ministry, etc. can weigh heavily on us at times. Sometimes, we can feel adrift without sensing a clear direction from the Lord.
Amazingly, C. S. Lewis felt that way at times, even in his remarkable life. Here’s a quote I recently uncovered from him: “Nothing about us except our neediness is, in this life, permanent.”1 As surprising as it sounds, a recent biography reveals that near the end of Lewis’s life, he felt he had been something of a failure when it came to his apologetics ministry.2 Spiritual and intellectual weariness and discouragement seem to hit even the best of us.
Daily Spiritual Practices: Joyful, Prayerful, Thankful (JPT)
There’s a section of Scripture that has come to mean a great deal to me—especially during times of spiritual dryness. It reminds me of the importance of daily spiritual practice, particularly when we feel fatigued in faith.
In the passage, the apostle Paul succinctly states what are virtually his talking points to the first-century Christian churches that were going through challenging times. He declares:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
–1 Thessalonians 5:16–18
It is possible to be joyful in Christ even if you are not very happy. You can also pray even if you don’t feel like it. And there is always something we can be thankful to God for in life.
Stoking the Faith Flame
One’s faith is like a fire. It has to be stoked in order to burn brightly and give off light and heat. C. S. Lewis reminds us that a spiritual life must be fed:
That is why daily praying and religious reading and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed.3
According to the apostle Paul, faith is uniquely energized through God’s inspired Word. He writes: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17).
Hearing the message comes through participating in church services and liturgy where God’s Word is read and recited, by devotionally reading Scripture, and by studying biblically derived Christian doctrine.
So, stoke the faith flame! Remind yourself of what you believe as a Christian, and keep practicing the basics of the Christian spiritual life. Call upon the triune God to grant you the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
And finally, recognize that you are not alone in facing spiritual struggles. All believers experience weariness. God is using even these trials to develop your faith and character in his Son, Jesus Christ.
Reflections: Your Turn
Have you experienced weariness in the Christian life? What helped you to pull out of it? Visit Reflections on WordPress to comment with your response.
- See my five-part series on Straight Thinking entitled A Grace-Oriented Path to Spiritual Renewal (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5).
- For 12 points and practices of spiritual renewal, see my article “Feed on the Faith: Grace-Oriented Spiritual Renewal.”
- C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves (New York: Harcourt, 1960), 33.
- See Alister McGrath, C. S. Lewis—A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2013).
- C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 125.
NOW THAT YOU’VE DISCOVERED REASONS TO BELIEVE
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