‘Be [continuously] filled with the Spirit.’ (Eph 5:18)
Why is spiritual dryness so common, when as Christians, our life, our witness and our service to others should be empowered by the life of the Holy Spirit within us?
This is what Jesus referred to when He said, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38)
However we do not always maintain that vital connection to God perfectly. And therefore all of us experience seasons where we feel spiritually dry.
The great evangelist D L Moody understood this. When asked why he placed so much emphasis upon being filled with the Holy Spirit, he wisely said, ‘Because I leak.’
Spiritual dryness, or depletion, is not a problem in itself.
In fact, the awareness of our spiritual dryness is a gift from God. It is His invitation to come and partake of His life and His Spirit.
However, spiritual dryness does become a problem if we:
- Do not notice that we are becoming depleted, or
- Do not recognize that God is the answer to our need, or
- Become too exhausted to connect with God
Therefore it is important for us to identify the signs of depletion as early as possible.
Signs of Spiritual Dryness
‘You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.’ Psalm 63:1
Here are some signs that we are becoming spiritually depleted. If you can relate to these, you need to reconnect with God and receive a fresh infilling of His Spirit:
1. Giving While Empty or Weary
A sign of spiritual dryness is that we are no longer giving to others out of a sense of fullness. We feel empty or weary—our inner tank is running dry.
Spiritual dryness if left undetected can turn into burnout, if we continue to give out in Christian service whilst not being replenished.
If left untended, spiritual dryness can impact our emotional, mental, and even physical state.
2. Serving out of Duty
When we are spiritually dry there is a subtle shift in our motivation to serve God, whether in the church or elsewhere.
We are no longer motivated by passion. We feel an inner reluctance, or resistance to serve, but continue to do so because we feel we have no choice.
Our motivation to continue serving may be that others are relying on us, or we want to honor a commitment, or even feel a duty towards God or towards His calling upon our lives.
3. Our Faith is no Longer Contagious
According to David in the Psalms, it is the joy of our salvation that results in us leading people to God. (Ps 51:12-13)
When we are spiritually dry, it affects our relationship with those who do not know Jesus. We are not bubbling over; we have lost our joy.
People are not seeing something in us that causes them to thirst for God, and we lack motivation to share with them, feeling we have nothing to offer.
4. God Feels Distant
When we are spiritually dry, there can be a gradual distancing from God. Either we are not encountering Him regularly, or we are not hearing from Him, or we are hearing Him speak to us intermittently.
God is, in fact, continually speaking to us. However sometimes we neglect to tune in. (Ps 139:17-18)
5. Our Spiritual Life is in a Rut
We lack the excitement we once had in our relationship with God. Our devotional life—connection to God through the Bible and prayer—has either been reduced to a rote exercise, is occasional, or has ceased to exist at all.
We love God, but have lost a sense of being ‘in love’ with Him. Our relationship with God has lost its freshness.
6. A Contributing Event
The state of spiritual dryness does not always creep up on us slowly. Trials or sudden trauma can result in us being depleted spiritually, as well as in other ways.
7. Negative Thinking
‘The Kingdom of God is… righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.’ (Rom 14:17)
When we are spiritually dry the atmosphere of heaven—righteousness, peace and joy—seems to evade us. Instead, we find it easier to give way to negative thinking. We falter in our ability to resist and ‘cast down’ destructive thoughts and emotions.
There is an Answer to Spiritual Dryness
The good news is that when we are spiritually dry, God has already initiated and provided the answer to our need.
In the next post, 7 Ways to Combat Spiritual Dryness, I will discuss some ways in which we can be replenished spiritually. In the meantime, here are some questions to consider:
Questions for Reflection:
- Do I have any of the above signs of spiritual dryness in my life at the moment—and to what degree? How long have I felt this way?
- What is the difference between emotional, mental, physical and spiritual depletion? How are they inter-related?
- What is God’s response to my spiritual depletion?
- What can I do this week to personally reconnect with God?
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
Enliven Ministries: in the David McCracken Ministries family