This week’s post is a little different. This is a subject that has been on my mind for the past few months and I decided to just throw it out there. I hope that this will be beneficial to at least one reader. Enjoy.
It’s no surprise that in our walk with the Lord, we all have our ups and downs. We will find days where we are able to abide in Him and seek Him in all things. We feel blessed. We become optimistic. We find reasons to continue to pursue Him and love Him more and more every minute of every day. Those days feel good. Then, there are days where the complete opposite occurs. We find ourselves doing something that we did before we were saved. We become influenced by our past. It almost seems like you completely forget your reason to live and you seek for purpose elsewhere. Almost as if you never knew God or felt His presence.
We all mess up at some point or at least come to a point where we don’t feel spiritually strong. Recently, I have felt that. You will eventually seek happiness outside of God, alone, and sometimes we may not know it is happening. There have been times where I have craved something as small as a cigarette because school begins to stress me out. I haven’t smoked in a long time, but I still want to go back to that time that I picked up the poison. I will falsely believe that I was happy or better off when I lived chasing false dreams. Taking a deep breath of toxic matter for some reason “satisfies” the body. I use that term loosely because, at the end of the day, you will only satisfy a fleshly desire. That “satisfaction” will end soon.
Like I mentioned above, it feels as if you forget why you find that act wrong in the first place. The person that can determine what is morally and biblically right and wrong left the room and everything that you have learned in Sunday school doesn’t matter. You lose control of your brain and you seek something that your flesh wants. This could be a fantasy, a relationship, or a substance like a cigarette. How we measure right from wrong will slip out when you indulge in sin, no matter what it is.
What happens after you fall deep into sin? You feel so lost and you still continue to return to the poison. The addictive qualities from living a fleshly desire arise. Have you ever felt hung over? Well, I haven’t. I thank God that I haven’t fallen down that rabbit hole, but I believe that I have felt something like that. I can only compare it to a hangover from what many people have told me it has felt like. I don’t know if there is a name for this experience, but I call it, “Spiritual Sickness”
So, what is Spiritual Sickness? I can only describe it as the moment where you realize you have felt away from God for so long. You could say you feel homesick from God’s presence. I have seen the trend when I lack Jesus Time (devotional time) in my day-to-day routine, the more susceptible I am to sinning. I get too caught up with school and other “busy” work, that I either choose to not abide in Jesus or I simply forget. It’s definitely not good to admit and they have not been proud moments in my life.
In these moments, it’s almost like if my soul was trying to fight a battle, but I kept giving it more darkness to fend off. It became fatigued and took blows that made it weaker. I could have done something to stop it, but I simply didn’t.
After a few days of constant sin, I can recall waking up one morning and the best way I can describe how I feel is “drunk”. Again, I haven’t felt drunk before, but I describe it by what I have heard drunkenness feels like. I wake up feeling as if I have a fever. My head pulses as if I could feel my heart inside my skull. This migraine doesn’t help. My throat is dry and I feel weak. Even though I woke up from a long sleep, I don’t feel rested. This is the best way I can describe, Spiritual Sickness.
Spiritual Sickness happens when you feel consumed by sin. You forget how to tell right from wrong. Even though this battle occurs internally, you do not want to do anything about it. You inhaled more of the smoke. You lie to yourself thinking that it was and is good and that it feels good, too. During those moments when I couldn’t get up, I was hurting myself; ripping my body, soul, and mind, piece by piece. And I thought I could fool those around me. I kept a straight face. No one knew me at my darkest. I fooled them, but I knew I wasn’t fooling God. He saw me torture myself and was sad that I was replacing His Grace with selfish gain. I hope you know that God’s heart breaks when He sees you react to selfish and fleshly desires.
As tragic as it sounds, what comes down, must come up. The greatest thing about God is His grace. The fact that when you fall into the basement of a house, He will still hold the door open for you to climb back up. We must also remember, that even when we believe that we are doing well, we still don’t deserve God’s grace. Nonetheless, He always holds His arm towards you waiting for you to stretch yours towards His.
Grace (God’s Righteousness At Christ’s Expense)
Grace is a firefly exploring the yard by my home. It is a bug that found a cracked window to my house. The insect crept in and made its way from one room to another. It moved around the furniture and underneath closed doors that led to the basement. Grace is small light illuminates just enough to uncover a dead body. As lifeless and frail as this body may seem, it still holds a beating, but cold heart. As that body, I saw this small light. It became the light at the end of a tunnel. I saw that there was hope and an end to my illness. One of the best experiences of Grace is in the time of Spiritual Sickness. When someone starts noticing that they are not doing well is beautiful. You start to ask yourself, “Why?” You come to a realization that you are not in a favorable position.
I’ve been reading a book titled, The Practice of the Presence of God with Spiritual Maxim” by Brother Lawrence. It follows the devotional life of the author and how He always abides in God’s presence. But it also shows that this man tripped a couple times in His walk with the Lord. During this time, the writer mentions what he mentally went through, “. . . he had no need of a director to advise him, but that he needed much a confessor to absolve him.” He covers a false system that many of us have believed in. We want to criticize someone’s faults, but many times, we just need to listen. In the times that I have sinned and felt this sickness, I simply needed to let, not only God, but a friend know what was going on. God will illuminate His love through you and you can show a fallen friend a glimpse of the grace that god offers. The book continues in the next sentence with a sense of encouragement, “That he was very sensible of his faults, but not discouraged by them; that he confessed them to God, but did not plead against them.” Yes, we all screw up, but fortunately, it isn’t the end. We are all imperfect humans who will eventually have to realize that we are better than our faults. We simply need to realize that temptation is bound to happen and that we have to learn to fight against it.
During this time of Spiritual Sickness, where I am continually not able to find a grip to get back up, I need to take a step back and see what is happening. Analyze and assess the situation. We ought to see what we are doing is wrong and reject it at the first opportune moment. You have to realize that, not only is your communion with God at stake, but also your salvation. Your future.
“When I fail in my duty, I readily acknowledge it, saying, I am used to do so; I shall never do otherwise if I am left to myself. If I fail not, then I give God thanks, acknowledging that the strength comes from Him.” – Brother Lawrence
I don’t want to end this post without going to the trusty ol’ Bible. A good friend reminded me of a story in Mark 5 as I was writing part of this blog. The story follows the Demoniac who was tormented by a ‘legion’ of demons. He was so consumed by them, that he was left alone chained and shackled in a tomb. This man, although able to break out of the bondage, he still tormented himself. “Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.” I can’t imagine what he thought through the days before he saw Jesus from afar. I believe that He was experiencing Spiritual Sickness. Legion took control of his body.
Over the next few verses, we see Jesus restoring this man. Jesus gave him a purpose to live and even commanded him to give testimony to how he changed. Everyone from this town didn’t recognize this man. They knew he was different, up to the point that they noticed that he was clothed. I believe that when you become spiritually healthy, you show a difference. God can speak through us to give testimony from where we were in the past few days of Spiritual Sickness.
We have to run to Him as soon as we see Him in the distance. We may want to go back home like the prodigal child in shame and embarrassment, but Jesus will take us back in with loving arms. Find Jesus in someone who will listen to you in your detriment and in places where you have found Him before. So, I mentioned this a few times throughout the post, but I truly do believe that in the end, something that you have to realize is abiding in Christ is the answer.