One of the problems I have had throughout my life is that I often don’t realize I’m thirsty until I’m bordering on dehydration. I seem to get parched quickly and, before I know it, a headache sets in. By that time, it’s too late to avoid the pain, though it is essential that I begin the re-hydration process so I don’t perpetuate it!
I have realized another thing: I have the exact same problem with my spiritual life! I often get so busy or so distracted that I develop tunnel vision. I fail to drink regularly from my source of strength (the Word of God) and to be poured into from men of God who preach the Word faithfully (through podcasts, books, etc.) and before I know it, I’m bordering on spiritual dehydration.
When that happens, everything suffers: my family, my interaction with God (prayer becomes minimal), my preaching and my other relationships. Everything suffers!
Turns out, that’s where I’ve been lately…spiritually dehydrated. My message yesterday was a confession of this and a challenge to all of us to pause and take a spiritual inventory of whether or not we’re drinking in things that are less than satisfactory at the expense of drinking in that which fully satisfies.
In John 7, Jesus stood up at the end of the Feast and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
In one sense, this is speaking to those who have never received Christ and have been made aware of their condition without Him. What about for those of us: those who have trusted in Christ, but go through times of drought?
Come and drink!
The problem for someone like me is that we don’t always realize we’re thirsty! How can we deal with a problem we don’t realize we have? The solution is quite easy. Actually, it’s the same solution that we would use for physical conditioning: Stay hydrated!
Really, that’s it. The way to know that I’m always physically hydrated is to develop a lifestyle of drinking water throughout the day…every day. So, for a man, that’s about 3 liters a day. For me, that’s a lot of water, but if I want to stay healthy, I need to do it or deal with the consequences.
Practically, for my spiritual health, I have to do the same thing. I have to be in the Word every single morning, develop a lifestyle of regular prayer and ask people close to me to keep me in check. In other words, “the basics”. The problem for people who have been disciples for long periods of time is that we sometimes feel as though we’re OK if we miss a day or two. The result is that even though it might not have a huge effect immediately, it begins an erosion process. We quickly lose focus and direction. Excuses come easy and often and the damage slowly begins to show. We can’t let it happen and the only way to prevent that is consistency!
So, are you thirsty?
Maybe like me, you need to stop running long enough to find out. How are your relationships going? How long has it been since you spent time reading Scripture (that wasn’t to prepare a sermon or to teach a Bible class)? How’s your prayer life? These are all indicators of your level of hydration. Check it out before you start really hurting. For me, it’s manifested itself in feeling burned out. For someone who wants to spend the rest of their life pouring into others for the sake of the Kingdom of God, that’s the worst feeling I can have.
We’re in the race together.
That being the case, let’s decide to protect each other from this unhealthy state and take seriously the instruction of Hebrews 10:19-25:
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Make sure you stay hydrated so that your healthy enough to finish the race as strongly as you’ve begun!
Soli Deo Gloria!