Sharpening the Ax

A few weeks ago, our pastor taught on the dangers of becoming spiritually dull.  As a church, we were about to embark on a 21 day fast, and he was encouraging us that fasting is one of the best ways to sharpen our spiritual lives once again.

He used the analogy of a husband and wife who have grown distant and have nothing to say to each other.  They still love each other but they no longer experience the passionate emotions and lively conversations they once had.

It was one of those times the Holy Spirit whispered, or rather shouted, in my ears: listen to this, take it to heart.  This is you.  I felt that dullness spiritually, and I even alittle in my marriage.  I definitely still loved the Lord and I certainly still loved my husband, but the realities of two small children had overtaken me.  I always felt sleep-deprived and so I tended to take naps when I could rather than having quiet times, and going out on date nights lost its luster compared to going to sleep!  I had fallen into the trap of speaking to God only in desperation and conversing with Marvin mostly about the kids.

But God is so wonderful; He never leads us to a place of conviction and then fails to provide the solution.  He shows us where we’re wrong and then gives us clear steps to make it right.  And He did just that for me.  By the end of the service, I had a clear plan to restore luster both to my relationship with Him and to my relationship with my husband.

God showed me what and when to fast (which I confess was not the full 21 days) and when to have regular quiet times.  And He gave both me and Marvin a plan to restore regular date nights.

Now, here’s the amazing thing about God.  When we give him our five loaves and two fish, He always multiplies them!  I was faithful to fast and begin to read my Bible and a spiritual book for a few minutes on most days.  And I began spending time with Him and talking to Him about things other than sleep.  Marvin and I started talking more during the day and had a wonderful date night (and we’re looking forward to another one this week!).  And in both cases, I felt the Holy Spirit blow on the embers in my heart and a flame billow up, bright and warm.  I am encouraged about both relationships and feel like my heart is soft once again.

The cares of the world will choke the seed, the seed of love, the seed of passion, and we have to be proactive at weeding.  If we don’t, before we know it, our hearts will be barren and it will take a lot more work plowing up fallow ground.

With some of you, it may not be kids, but rather a demanding job, or ministry obligations, an aging parent or friend in crisis.  There are a plethora of things that can consume our time and energy and push aside time with God, and if we’re married, time with our spouse.  And God is not demanding hours a day to make it right.  He just wants what’s in your hand: that 15 minutes while a child is napping or watching TV.  That evening that you take a break from TV and spend time with Him or your husband.  Just give him your widow’s mite, your loaves and fish, and watch Him do what only He can do.

Posted in Prayer.

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