The Ups and Downs of the Christian Life
Wouldn’t it be great if our growth and development as a Christian were a straight line of progress? What if we could grow in such a way that we never made a mistake, never stumbled, never tired of doing the Lord’s will and always lived in the word of God? It would be great to be sure, but it doesn’t happen that way. Rather than a straight, always rising path toward heaven our lives are probably more like an old wood frame roller coaster. There are ups and downs as we go from stellar high points to deep lows. Along the way we are jerked to and fro and surrounding by a cacophony of distracting noises.
How do we stay on the highs while limiting the lows? Do we really have to come down after we have gone up?
Avoiding the Lows
One way to avoid periods of regression or poor growth is to be aware of what causes such lulls. Our lives are incredibly busy. Schedules are rigorous. Time is short and precious. A busy schedule for our children means a busy schedule for us as we transport the little ones from one place to another. Add to that our own work schedules and the need for mundane things like shopping, bill paying and home upkeep and you suddenly find little time for God. It’s not deliberate but it is reality.
To help, carve out early morning private time. Rise before others in the house and spend a half hour with God – alone – and you will find that you grow spiritually and that you day just seems better. The very idea of giving up a half hour between the sheets may seem difficult but remember, even Jesus rose early to pray (Mark 1:35).
Sustaining the Highs
Have you ever gotten a real “rush” from worshipping God? It’s that feeling of excitement that makes you want to shout the gospel from the highest rooftop. It’s a confidence that no matter what Satan throws your way, you will overcome. It’s a not an emotional high but a solid, unwavering certainty that God cares for you and will provide for all your needs (Matthew 10:26-33).
Like most of us, those moments are too few. But you can make them last and make them more frequently. Observe the triggers that produce those highs. Were you with a certain friend or group of people? Were you in a worship service? Was there one particular verse or passage that really stuck with you? Maybe a song you sang in worship had some special meaning to you. Whatever the trigger, identify it and do it again and again.
There is no substitute for spending time in the Bible. Your spiritual highs must be built upon a knowledge of God’s word or they will always be shallow and short-lived (Romans 10:1-4). Daily Bible reading is essential.
Life is hard. Life is harder without God. Add him into your life in larger doses and you will find that peace and growth that may seem to elusive.