Have you ever found yourself wishing that you could be more zealous or passionate for Jesus? Maybe you are unsatisfied with your lack of growth in Christian maturity and faith?
Dr Kenneth Boa, director of Reflections Ministries, gives the following advice:
Devotional spirituality is like a delicate grapevine that flourishes only when it is planted in the right soil and carefully cultivated in a good climate. Unless it is nurtured, it will wither through neglect and fail to bear fruit. The fruit of spiritual passion can be threatened by natural enemies.
He suggests the following eight natural enemies of spiritual passion. Which of the eight has presented the greatest challenge to you?
1. Unresolved areas of disobedience
God may have been bringing a particular sin or sinful pattern to our attention, but through progressive hardening of our hearts we may have resisted him. Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal areas you have been holding on to and quickly deal with them by trusting God for forgiveness through Christ.
Without a holy desire and thirst for God we will slip into apathy, boredom and spiritual dullness. We must continue to ask God for a spiritual hunger that only he can give.
3. Erosion in spiritual disciplines
When we neglect or give up on the spiritual disciplines we will notice our spiritual passion will erode and complacency will ensue.
4. External obedience
If external obedience is more important than loving Jesus, we shall become happy with our moral performance and rule-keeping but unconcerned about Jesus. The bible presents Christian obedience as a response of gratitude and love for Jesus and what he has done. Beginning and ending with external obedience may have the appearance of religion but the heart may be cold.
5. Loving truth more than Christ
It is possible to become so absorbed in studying the truth that we love it more than what it points to – the Source of all truth. Biblical theology and Systematic theology are excellent tools but can be treasured above Christ himself if we are not careful.
6. Elevating ministry and service above Christ
Success in ministry, serving the poor, evangelism or corporate worship can lead us to find our significance and identity in these things rather than through our intimacy with Christ. This means that we are liable for creating a religion without Christ at the centre.
7. Greater commitment to institutions than to Christ
Churches, denominational matters, para-church ministries can all occupy more time than our devotion to Jesus. We can be more passionate about such causes than about Christ himself.
8. A merely functional relationship
For many people, Jesus is simply someone who can help them in their difficulties: their marriages, career, children or health. If we do not grow beyond this attitude of gifts-over-the-Giver, we shall never grow in spiritual zeal.
Taken from Boa, K., Conformed to his image, Zondervan, 2001