Losing The Will to Endure (pt. 1).
How does a person who dwells and operates within the Body of Christ go from being on fire for the Kingdom to distant and lukewarm? Why is it that a minister of the Gospel can be found in a flourishing state regarding their ministry one day, and then living in a state of apathy the next time you see them? Well, I cannot speak for all ministers, but I can definitely tell you “why” from my own perspective and experience, and I can even tell you how I got there.
Remember: God is Always Good.
Before I go any further, I do want to make it perfectly clear that there exists no valid reason for a person to step away from God after they have experienced the beauty, the power, the grace, and the unending love of God, even though it is sometimes an unfortunate occurrence. If one has truly experienced such things as these within their spirit as well as their soul, they will tell you that there is absolutely nothing and no one who can compare to God! A person like myself knows that all too well. So, what does one do? Instead of walking away from God, a person like me would begin to step back from the things that they once found joyous and praiseworthy, yet attempt to remain close enough in order to to appear to be counted among God’s willing workers. This particular dynamic is what is referred to in the Bible as being “ritually clean.” This will be further discussed in parts two of this particular post.
There came a time within my walk with Christ where I began to increase in wisdom, understanding, and a genuine fire for all things God. I loved everything about the Bible, enjoyed going to church and fellowshipping with others, and spending time in prayer was an absolute joy. In fact, I can remember having to get up and get ready for work, and dreading the fact that I couldn’t stay there all day in prayer. I would never say that things were perfect, but I will say that I was determined to go all the way with Christ. As wonderful as it was to feel grounded and completely satisfied with God and His plan for my life, a season came about in my life where I began to experience some of the things that I had only heard about or read about in scriptures and books by Christian authors who were chronicling their journey from sin to salvation and through the dark and despairing valleys. In 2 Timothy 2:3, the Apostle Paul writes these words to his son in the Gospel: “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” In the KJV, the word that is used instead of suffer is “endure.” One thing that I did not realize within the early years of my salvation is the fact that it is so very easy to endure when you are not faced with the heavy artillery of a military onslaught from the enemy’s camp, or being consistently pelted and even pierced by the weapons that have been formed against you.
As I continued to grow and mature in God, I was taken through tumultuous seasons that were designed to destroy me in regards to the enemy’s agenda, but meant to make me stronger and turn me into a fierce Kingdom Warrior who means business, according to God’s plan for me. God was (and is) always faithful, and he carried me through seasons of chaos when I was too fatigued within my soul and spirit to fight, but after a while, I found myself growing weary of the fight in general. In this state of mind, it can be a dangerous thing to keep going without stopping to take a breath and really allow yourself to get in/stay in tune with the Lord and His love for you and your love for Him. Keeping the Kingdom agenda in mind can convince you to keep going, because you decided a while ago to go with God wherever He desires to take you. However, in the middle of battle fatigue and weariness even in well doing, one can find themselves going from on fire for Christ to an obligated servant. What this means is that the passion for God is becoming less and less of a factor, and the driving force is actually one of obligation–to keep a promise, just because you know it needs to be done, and simply going through the motions. God indeed loves a cheerful giver (not just financially, but in every act of service to Him and for His Kingdom), but what He doesn’t take joy in is the begrudging way we often do things for our churches, for other people, or even for Him when we have lost sight of why we do what we do for Him.
How Did You Get There???
So, let me tell you about some of the seasons of fighting that I had to walk through. I won’t go into great details, because then this particular blog post would turn into a book or an anthology! But I feel it necessary to give some examples of what I have gone through in order to clearly display what I have learned as a result.
In some seasons, I found myself at odds with people whom I had held close to me. I am not talking about just the occasional argument or a difference of opinion, but rather times where I found myself feeling pushed away, rejected, and even proverbially spat on by those whom I felt close to. Now, I knew then that these things do happen, because people grow and people change as time marches on. However, what I was not prepared for was the way in which some of these relationships ended. To be perfectly honest, there were times when I felt broken, even shattered. The closer the person(s), the deeper the wounds can and will be when times of severing come about. In the midst of seasons like this, I began to realize that a big part of the reason why I was being pushed away or rejected was because of my faith, my determination to follow Christ, and my willingness to crucify my flesh in order to be used by God to the fullest extent possible. Coming into the Kingdom and receiving Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you find out rather quickly that some will not appreciate your internal transformation. What I wasn’t necessarily prepared for (mentally) was the fact that sometimes these sorts of rejections can and will happen with people whom you labor among and fellowship with from within the Kingdom! Getting hit by an enemy arrow or bullet will always hurt, but getting struck by a co-laborer can bring one to their knees in grief. As I was coming out of that season of the initial infractions, I was still determined to go with God, but my passion for the journey was slowly fading.
Then, there were times when the enemy’s assault turned physical, having enough firepower to give off ripple effects that would be felt mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Growing up in the church, I remember hearing lessons and sermons on the persecutions of the disciples and the Apostles, and hearing about how there were times when the devil would stir up a person(s) so much that they would try to inflict physical pain, as was the case of just about everyone we read about within the New Testament–including but not limited to Jesus Himself. But, within all of these preachings and teachings, I do not remember anyone ever talking about this sort of thing happening to them. It was always taught in an allegorical style rather than in a real life application on the types of battles that God’s people will sometimes face as they continue to serve Him (especially for His prophetic and apostolic ministers). In fact, it wasn’t until I was an adult when I would hear about some of the near fatal incidents of God’s people, and about how the enemy tried to take them out, but God not only spared them but more importantly, caused them to ultimately prosper in their future endeavors!
Counting It All Joy… At First.
In the moments of my life in Christ Jesus when this happened on a comparatively minor scale, I (like many people) was able to laugh it off in a sort of “count it all joy” type of fashion. But the thing about the enemy and the way that he attacks is that he moves like a chess player. I am in no way giving any glory or credit to the enemy, but in order for any of us to be effective in our fight against him, we must understand how he operates. With that being said, it should have been clear to me that once he saw that the assaults that he was launching (in any aspect of my life) were not working against me, then he would change strategy and even weapons. When I finally realized that, I was in the middle of one of the worst physical traumas that I had ever had to endure. Now, I will say that by this particular time in my life, I had heard of how these things can happen, because the enemy will oftentimes do all that he can in order to fulfill his mode of operation (M.O.) as it is mentioned in John 10:10. It’s important to understand that hearing about it and walking through it yourself are two different things. When going through such seasons, our minds have to remain focused on God, and our hearts have to remain anchored in the love of God as well as our love for God. For me, I was so full of questions that I began to lose sight of the love I have for God, and about how in the worst of times, that love just may have to be enough to get me from in the middle of the fire to outside of the fire.
When I let different seasons, difficulties, traumas, offenses, tests, trials, rejections, and multiple levels of pain take my focus off of just how much God loves me and just how much I love God, it became easy to slowly slip out of the perfect place, the secret place (Psalm 91), and the grounded place. After a while, the things that once fueled me in my devotion to the King of Kings were being done out of ritual obligation, sometimes with not much fervency to be pleasing to Him. Don’t get me wrong: I loved God and I truly still do. I had a period of time where I lost sight of why I love Him, which led to the joy of my salvation slipping away from me for a period of time.
With all of these things (plus so much more), I found myself worn, tired, and no longer wanting to engage in the fight. Why should I engage in such a lifestyle, when it has already cost me so much? Why do I have to experience such crushing rejections from person after person? What is the purpose for my mental, physical, and emotional injuries and scars? Better yet, why am I not seeing some of my loved ones going through these things? All of these questions and more became my daily set of thoughts, and unfortunately hearing scriptures like, “it rains on the just and the unjust” wasn’t cutting through the grief and the fatigue. By then, I had officially lost the will to endure as a good soldier. I didn’t want to pick up my sword, fight another fight, even though I knew that through Christ we are guaranteed victory. I no longer wanted to go on another fast, or even pray or intercede unless I was called upon to do so. For me, this was a spiritually uncomfortable place, because I had been exposed personally to the joy and the peace that comes from serving God with one’s whole heart. But, no matter how uncomfortable I was in this stuck and stagnant place, I couldn’t shake the questions of why. It wasn’t until recently when I heard an answer that cut me deep:
“Jesus suffered greatly for you; are you not willing to do the same for Him?”
This was the gist of the revelation that hit me like an 18-wheeler. As I heard the Lord drop this revelation in my spirit, I remember standing there, dumbfounded. Speechless. Had I really become such a brat in the spirit that I was no longer willing to endure for the one who endured unimaginable traumas on every single level–just to make sure that I had access to eternal life and life more abundantly?
The realization hit me hard, because I had finally realized that I had let so much time go by without allowing myself to fully (re)connect to the God of my salvation, the true lover of my soul, and the One whose grace has kept me from falling all the way into a pit of despair and depravity. At one time, God was my hero! Through hurts and traumatic seasons of my life, I had allowed myself to keep Him and His awesome ways at an arm’s length, scared of what would happen to me if I should engage and move in the marching orders of God. So now, I am in a state where I have to daily remind myself of the whole-hearted “YES” that I gave to God once before, and how I truly meant it then. I am learning what that YES means for me now, and I am reaffirmed in my faith because I know that no matter what cannonball-sized hit I have or may have to take in the future, God is simply worth it!
Concluding Part 1.
What can I say about God? His unconditional love is truly sweet, His faithfulness knows no limits, and His Word and the power therein will act as a defibrillator when we feel as if we have nothing left to give Him. Just as He did for Elijah in the cave, He is faithful and willing to do this for us as well. I love Him, and I am in awe of just how much He loves us all!
Until next week, everyone!
Be Blessed In Jesus’ Name!
P.S., Thank you for stopping by Heaven’s Table! If this post or any other post resonates within you, please feel free to leave a comment.
Love and blessings to you all!
3 thoughts on “Losing The Will To Endure”
I enjoyed reading your post. I can certainly identfy with working so hard for Jesus that you begin spending less and less time with Him. This is not true ministry. Sometimes the wounds in our life can snap out the joy of ministry. You may be interested in reading my blog on this point: https://phyllismccolister.blog/2022/07/17/no-wasted-wounds/
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Thank you for your comment. I’ll be sure to take a look at your post as well!