SPIRITUAL DRYNESS

Author: Pr. kalungi Denis February 15, 2021 573 views 1 comments
Fig: A picture representing SPIRITUAL DRYNESS.

UNDERSTANDING SPIRITUAL DRYNESS BY PR. DENIS KALUNGI

KIREKA CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP

spiritual dryness, usually mean feeling distant from God or struggling to see things working. you don’t see God working, the burdens of life press in, and you begin to feel discouraged. your search for God “in a dry and parched land where there is no water” but nothing {Psalm 63:1} is a time of spiritual dryness

What do we have to understand in this situation of spiritual dryness,” God is real, no matter how you feel this is the best time to worship God.” “Droughts and difficulties are a reality for all of us. When the dry of your drought is fierce, God is inviting you to serve and trust Him in the arid, arduous trenches of it. You. Are. Not. Alone.”

It is easy to worship God when things are going great in your life, when he has provided:

1, Food

2, Jobs

3, Friends

4, Family

5, Health and happy situations

But circumstances are not always pleasant, how do we worship God in such situations? What do we do when God seems a million miles ways? Actually, the deepest level of worship is when we are in pain. Thanking God in midst of trials, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving him when he seems a distance is the most honest prayer you can ever pray. 

When spiritual dryness knocks on your door just know the time for testing has come and it comes with spiritual growth or with blessings. Like friendship is tested with separation and silence, you get divided by physical distance or you are unable to talk to each other but you remain trustworthy to each other likewise to God, your friendship with him you will not always be close to him or feel him.” Any relationship involves times of closeness and times of distance,” and with a relationship with God, no matter how intimate you might be with him dry period will always be there.

That is the time when worship becomes difficult, to mature your friendship, God will test it with periods of seeming separation. Times when we feel he has abandoned us or forgotten us. “There is nothing in this universe you need more desperately than Christ.” 

David is the closest friend to God experienced dry period, we see this by God taking a pleasure calling him “a man after my own heart,” yet David frequently complained, read {Psalm 10:1-3} Lord, why are you standing aloof and far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most? Come and deal with all these proud and wicked men who viciously or cruelly persecute the poor. Pour upon these men the evil they planned for others! For these men brag of all their evil lusts; they revile or scorn God and congratulate those the Lord abhors, whose only goal in life is money. 

God had not left him and He will not leave us, He promised repeatedly I will never leave you nor forsake you. {Hebrews 13:5} but never promised that we will always feel His presence, “in fact God, admits that sometimes he hides his face from us {Deuteronomy 31:18}. There at times when he appears to be missing-in-action, in our lives.

There is a time you walk up when all your spiritual feeling is gone, you try to pray but nothing happens, you rebuke the devil but it does not change anything. You go through spiritual exercises you let your friends pray for your nothing. You confess every sin then go around asking for forgiveness of everyone you but know nothing comes your way. 

You fast and nothing happens, you feel as if your prayers are simply bouncing off the ceiling,” what is the matter with me?” the truth is, there is nothing wrong with you. It’s a normal part of testing and maturing your intimacy with God every Christian goes through it at least once. Actually, it is painful but absolutely vital for the development of faith.

Actually, Job experienced this read {Job 23:8-11} but if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread. Knowing this gave Job hope when He could not feel God’s presence in his life. We need to maintain a strong faith which will enable us to believe that:

1, God knows what he is doing when he allows us to experience the desert read {Roman11:33-36}

2, In the desert, God is not punishing us but is purifying us read {Deuteronomy 30:6}

3, God grows his best flowers (virtues) in the desert read {Hosea 2:1-11}

4, God works in us while we rest in him read {Mark 4:26-29}

5, In the  struggles  of life, God  is  on our  side fighting  our battles read {Exodus   14:13-14} and Deuteronomy 1:30-33}

6, In the desert, God’s seeming absence is just a different type of presence, one that we may not as yet have recognized read {Exodus 16}

7, We can be secure with insecurity read {Romans 8:28}

8, We should abandon ourselves generously to the purifying work of God read {Luke 23:46}

There are temptations in quiet time or dry time!!! 

The first temptation is to quit prayer, thinking that our best efforts are leading us anywhere. Read {Zachariah 4:6} then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.

The second is to overload our prayer time with extra prayers, Scripture reading, and more. It is not helpful to think that if we try harder we will once more feel the presence of God. 

This second temptation needs to be resisted not only because it blocks God’s purpose in the desert but also because it m is usually unconsciously our attempt to remain active and in control of the prayer process.

The desert challenge involves learning to sit quietly in the presence of God,  trusting that he is at work in us while we rest in him. 

Spiritual dryness would teach us to gracefully spend time in the presence of God. Following the below suggestions you will be helped.

Spend some time just being present with the Lord, aware that as we rest in him he is at work in us. Put aside all effort to achieve “success” in prayer and realize that achievement (growth) is God’s work.

Spend some time slowly repeating prayers like: “Incline  my  heart to  your  will O Lord” or “Make  me  want you,  O  Lord, more  than anyone/anything in my life.” Because blessed are those who dwell in your house, blessed are those whose strength is in God {Psalm 84:4}

Take a phrase of Scriptures, e.g., “You are my beloved Son” and dwell on it, Take words like “Jesus I love you & I know you will never forsake me, “and repeat it gently and slowly,  letting  God do the work, leading us beyond conceptual thoughts, images, or feelings to wordless depths.

What indications do we have that God might be permitting our spiritual dryness to continue his purifying work within us?

While we can never be absolutely sure since we live by faith and not by clear vision when spiritual dryness is being permitted by God, we can say that the following are good indications that dryness is the purifying work of God.

1, During the time of dryness we remain faithful to prayer.

2, Our prayer is honest and flows from the real fabric of our lives

3, We endeavor to integrate prayer and life.

4, We strive to live a life of charity; our prayer helps us to be more loving.

5, We genuinely try to avoid sin and to live our lives according to God’s Word

6, We thirst for God as we walk in the desert.

It is crucial to remember that our desire for God is in itself a tangible sign of his presence in our lives. We couldn’t even desire God if he didn’t place that desire in our hearts. Prayer, like many other aspects of life, is a series of “arrivals” and “starting points 

In summary,  if we are in doubt about the cause of our discontent or dryness, we should talk to the spirit through the scriptures. 

1, We can be secure with insecurity read {Romans 8:28}.

5, We should abandon ourselves generously to the purifying work of God read {Luke 23:46}

When God seems distant, you may feel that He is angry with you or He is disciplining you for some sin. Yes it could be true because sin separates you and me from his presence as we may see below: {Isaiah 59:1-3}

Sometimes spiritual dryness is due to personal sin. 

Sin can cause us to feel distant from God because we are attempting to live for ourselves instead of living for God. Unconfessed sin can cause us to lose the joy associated with our salvation read {Psalm 51:12}. We can remedy the time of dryness by confessing our sin to God {1 John 1:9 and Psalm 32}. 

Sometimes a definite transgression of God’s commandments, a conscious action against His will, which a person refuses to admit and to uncover puts him into a state of dryness: “When I kept silent about my sin, my vitality/life was drained away as with the fever heat of summer” {Psalms. 32:3-4}.

In our sins, we grieve God’s spirit and quench our fellowship with him through:

1, Disobedience

2, Conflicts

3, With other business

4, Friendship with the world {James 4:4}

How do we know that spiritual dryness is due to our sin? These are some indicators:

1, We can face difficulty in prayers

2, We can face difficulties in human friendship

3, We can face negative patterns of behavior {e.g., lying spirit} letting us make no effort to change.

4, Feeling difficulty in fellow-shipping with others

Double-minded

To be “double-minded” is to maintain a dual loyalty, such as trying to serve both God and mammon {Matthew 6:24}. An attempt to do so will dry us up spiritually. Here he warns us to read {revelations 3:15-18} I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm neither hot nor cold I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are shameful, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. God spits.

Some people feel spiritually dry because of physical, mental, or emotional pain 

When we are sick, it is often more difficult to focus on God or spiritual things. After Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal, he ran a great distance because he feared Queen Jezebel whom he would put to death {1 Kings 19:1–5}. He was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, and he wanted to die. God gave Elijah sustenance and rest {1 king 19:5–8}and then used that time of weakness to work in Elijah’s life in a new way. So God might be planning to work in you in a special way.

God sometimes allows a person to reach a low point before intervening in a powerful way. The time before that intervention you can feel spiritually dry. The Israelites trapped by the Red Sea are an example {Exodus 14: 10-15}. The people were caught between Pharaoh’s army and the sea. There seemed to be no escape. God seemed to have led them into a death trap. Yet it was during this time God chose to intervene with a miracle that is still talked about thousands of years later: He divided the sea to allow the Israelites to escape on dry land! Who knows what successful story behind your spiritual dryness?

Undernourishment and inertia/inactive.

It is a spiritual law: “The one who gives out much must also take in much.” The transgression of this law leads to spiritual dryness. The question which comes up here is the order of our daily prayer time and personal Bible study. It is not enough for a Christian to study the Bible only for a special purpose – in order to prepare a sermon or a message for a specific occasion. The daily quiet time where he allows his Heavenly Father to address him personally is as important for his spiritual health as his daily meals are for his physical health. If he gives out continuously without taking in, he will run dry. Remember we are pipeline channels for God’s blessings and word.

However, in the spiritual realm, undernourishment can be caused not only by not taking in enough but also by not passing on enough. The one who takes in much must also give out much – otherwise, he may lose what he has.

Spiritual dryness may well be the result of undernourishment that is caused by not feeding others. Many Christians are not inactive because they ran “dry,” but they ran “dry” because they are inactive. Their inertia {lack of involvement in evangelizing the spiritually lost and building up Christians spiritually} is not the effect of their dryness, but rather its cause.

Overfeeding and over-strain.                     

I have observed that we are often afflicted with spiritual dryness after religious highlight experiences. After a Christian retreat or Bible conference, especially if it was fruitful, when we have been blessed by the richness of God’s Word, we may suddenly fall into dryness.

Therefore, we have to recognize that there is not only the possibility of spiritual undernourishment but of spiritual overfeeding as well. There are Christians who are able to take in an unlimited amount of spiritual food. They may belong to three different weekly Bible study groups or prayer circles and seem not to suffer any harm.

However, we have to realize that there are other Christians, just as sincere, whose spiritual condition is more sensitive and whose capacity to take in spiritual food is therefore limited. Overfeeding may damage their spiritual life and put them into a state of utter­most dryness.

There is also the possibility of spiritual overstrain. After a heavy week of evangelizing, following up new Christians, leading Bible studies, and preaching sermons, Christian leaders may feel dead in their hearts on weekends. Such spiritual overstrain can even affect a person over a longer period of time. A forced religious education in childhood and overfeeding with joyless, routine family devotions may result in an adult dried-up state of indifference concerning spiritual matters. The mere mention of Bible study may cause antagonistic feelings.

Disregard our body.

Another cause of spiritual dryness is hinted at in {Psalm 31:9}: “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.” Just as joy affects the heart and flesh {Psa. 84:2}, distress affects soul and body.

It is an accepted fact today that body and soul are unity and that a sick mind can be the cause for a sick body. “When I kept silent my body wasted away. My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer” {Psalms. 32:3-4}. Here illness of the soul causes physical illness.

However, we have to learn that it can also work the other way around: Disregarding our physical life may affect our psychological health and cause spiritual illness.

“It is true, a good pianist may be able to play on an old instrument. But even the best pianist cannot give full expression to the music he would like to play if the piano is out of tune.”

Loss of balance.

Our conversion to Jesus Christ does not relieve us from observing the order of the creation of which we are apart. God’s creation is built upon the balance between work and rest. “The seventh day God rested from all His work which He had done in creation” {Gen. 2:3}. It’s on record that at night when people are asleep God talks and communication is two-way, you talk and wait for the answer. Read {Job 33:14-15} so it calls for a rest such that God does his work.

God offers some solutions to our spiritual dryness

We have already noted God’s command to draw near to Him with the promise that He will draw near to us. In addition, we are called to seek God through His Word: “All Scriptures are God-breathed and are useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” {2 Timothy 3:16–17}. 

In God’s Word, we see the faithfulness, mercy, and love of God. It is God’s Word that sanctifies us {John 17:17}. So in a dry period let us stick to the word of God because it has a breath and it is leaving as we may read in {Hebrews 4:12}

A second way to overcome spiritual dryness is through prayer

Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jesus taught in {Matthew 7:7}, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Persistence in prayer is a virtue {Luke 18:1}.

A third way to overcome spiritual dryness is fellowship with other believers.

One of the strengths of the early church was that they spent time with one another. {Acts 2:46–47}

Note

1, Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.

2, They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people

3, And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” God’s purpose for His people is known, which involves fellowship, encouragement, and true relationships.

David was likely experiencing a time of spiritual dryness when he wrote this psalm:

“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?” {Psalm 13:1–2} But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me” {Psalm 13:5–6}

How do we praise God when we don’t understand what is happening in our lives and God is silent? How can we stay connected in a crisis without communication? How do we keep our eyes on Jesus when there are full of tears?

Let us do what Job did,” Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD be praised."{Job 1:21}, this is the origin of the phrase,” praise the name of Jesus,” with all the distress he was going through he managed to confess praise the name of the Lord, he was a man of his kind!

The job was a spiritual man who trusted God. He was a prayerful man, who kept his seven sons and three daughters covered by prayer, appealing to the Lord for their spiritual well-being. He was a wise man who had been blessed by God in many ways, and he was a pillar of spiritual piety among his peers but Job was unaware of the spiritual battle that was raging in heavenly places.

Although he knew God as Creator and worshipped Him with reverent fear, Job did not know that the old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, was using him to challenge God's sovereign authority.

The Lord had referred to Job as, "My servant,” and said of him, "there is no one on earth like him read {Job 1:8}."  The result of Satan's dialogue with the Lord, and his evil accusations against Job, was that the Lord permitted the devil to test Job's loyalty to God and his faith in his Creator, Whom he served with reverent/respectful fear.

Multiple disasters befell the stricken man, including:

1, The death of his ten children

3, The loss of his entire material assets

Everything was snatched from Job in one day - but this godly man did not curse the Lord, despite his broken-hearted grief as Satan predicted.

He tore his mantle in the anguish of heart, shaved his head, as a sign of mourning, and was beset with inner turmoil/confusion yet he fell on the ground in order to worship the Lord, and cried out, saying, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."

Satan had staked that Job would curse God when such intense disasters befell him, but Job recognized:

1, Everything he had was a gift from the Lord

2, Acknowledged that God retains the right to confer/give blessings and remove them

3, He acknowledged that God is equally justified in permitting evil to overtake his servants as well as good.

This grief-stricken/heartbroken man understood that all he had was from the Lord, and the loss of his estate and dearly loved children did not negate/deny the goodness of God.

Job had long understood that we are born into this world with nothing and that when we die, we leave this world equally empty-handed. He was naked when his mother brought him into the world, through much pain and travail, and at his departing, he would similarly be naked - for from dust we are made and to dust, we shall all return.

Job's response to his tragic loss, demonstrates a truly extraordinary man with a truly remarkable faith in God. He reacted to his woes with worship, and to his devastating losses with reverence and humility of heart. Job did not curse the Lord, as Satan had supposed, and despite his ongoing problems and pain, he retained his faith in God, which honored the Lord.

The long night of doubt and sorrow, or during painful times of trial and tribulation for it is often when we are in pain that we hold fast to our heavenly Creator. It is often when we are in deep distress that we cling more tightly to the God of our salvation for there is no one else to turn to, for He has the words of eternal life.

Tell God exactly how you feel, Pour out your heart to God upload every emotion that you are feeling. Job did this when he said,” No! I can't be quiet! I am angry and bitter. I have to speak. He cried out when God seemed a distant {Job 7:11}.” Oh, for the days when I was in my prime/leading when God's intimate friendship blessed my house {Job 29:4},

God can handle our:

1, Doubt

2, Anger

3, Fear

4, Grief

Confusion and questions admitting your hopelessness to God can be a statement of faith! Trusting God but at the same time feeling despair, it's fine because no one is insured for pain.

David wrote,” I believed, so I said, "I am completely ruined." But David trusted God, his frankness actually reveals deep faith:

1, He believed in God

2, He believed God would listen to his prayer

3. He believed God would let him say what he felt and still love him.

2 Samuel 24:14 David said to Gad, "I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands. This man had understood the mercy of the Lord which is why he was able to tell Prophet Gad that he will lean on God rather than human in hands. 

Focus on who God is, his unchanging nature. Regardless of circumstances and how you feel, hang on to God’s unchanging character. In this state remind yourself what you know about God.

1, He is good

2, He loves me

3, He is with me

4, He knows what I am going through,

5, He cares and has good plans for me, “Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light” 

Prophet Isaiah wrote, “Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his God,” {Isaiah 50:10}

When Job’s life fell apart and God was silent, Job still found things he could praise God for:

1, He is good and loving

2, He is all-powerful

3, He notices every detail of my life

4, He is in control

5, He has plans for my life

6, He will save me

Trust God to keep his promises, during the time of spiritual dryness we must patiently rely on the promises of God, not our emotions, and realize that he is taking us to deeper levels of maturity. ”a friendship based on emotion is shallow indeed.”

Do not be troubled by troubles, circumstances cannot change God’s character. God’s grace is still in full force, he is still for you even if you do not feel him. in the presence of ending circumstances Job held on to God’s word. He said, “I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread {Job 23:12}

His trust in God’s word caused him to remain faithful even though nothing made sense. His faith was strong amidst pain,” God may kill me, but still I will trust him and offer my defense {Job 13:15} when you feel abandoned by God, continue to trust in him in spite of your feelings. Worship Him in the deepest way.

Remember what God has done for you, if God never did anything else for you, he will still need your continual praise for the rest of your life because of what Jesus did for you on the cross.

It is time to seek the Lord, Those in periods of spiritual dryness often go looking for answers in many places. But God’s Word directs us to the only place where we can experience renewal–the rain of heaven–and it is to seek the Lord.

Hosea 10:12 gives great hope to us today. When we have broken up the unplowed ground in repentance and begin to seek the Lord with all our heart, then the promise comes. It is the Lord Himself who comes in response to a repentant, seeking heart, ready to shower His righteousness upon us. It is Jesus Himself in the midst of His people, receiving our worship, and showering upon us the blessings of His Presence.

Break up your unplowed ground, unplowed ground has a hard time receiving rain. Sun-scorched, baked earth forms a hard crust. When the rain comes, it simply runs off the hard ground rather than soak in to soften it.

The unplowed ground is a picture of the unrepentant life. The rain of God’s righteousness will not soak in and change a life that is hard and unrepentant. So the command here is: “Repent! Change! Go a different direction!” {Acts 3:19}

Prayer for spiritual dryness

Dear  Lord, in the midst of much inner turmoil and restlessness,  there is a  consoling thought:  maybe you are working in me in a   way  I   cannot yet feel, experience, or understand. My mind is not able to concentrate on you,  my heart is not able to remain centered,  and it seems as if you are absent and have left me alone. But in faith, I cling to you. I believe that your Spirit reaches deeper and further than my mind or heart and that profound movements are not the first to be noticed. Therefore, Lord, I promise I will not run away, not give up,  not stop praying,  even when it all seems useless, pointless,  and a  waste of time and effort.  I  want to let you know that  I  love you even  though  I do not feel loved by you and that  I  hope in you even though  I often experience despair. Let this be a little dying I can do with you and for you as a way of experiencing some solidarity with the millions in this world who suffer far more than I do. Amen

1 comments

Tumwine   -   

February 19, 2021
Great message pastor..

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