September 2019

Do you need to limber up?

 

Dear Friend,

Several years ago, I had a life-changing spiritual revelation while walking my dog, Mak. I had just been released from wearing a neck brace and walking with a cane, which I wore while I recovered from a fall and subsequent back surgery. So, with Mak strolling at my side, we took off on an unencumbered walk.

The mountain view was lovely that day, and I soon found a hill to climb to better enjoy the scenery. This hill was just a gentle upward slope, and I was able to move along without any problem towards the crest.

However, a recent rain had made the leaves slick, which made it difficult to gain traction. After taking about three more steps, I realized I was not going to be able to keep moving forward. These slippery leaves made it where I could not turn back around, either. I was stuck!

The last thing I needed was another fall, so I just stood there, completely frozen, not knowing what to do next. All of a sudden, I began to slide slowly back down the hill. I only slid about five feet until I reached an area where I could gain traction again. I stayed upright the whole time.

In a very sobering and loving way, the Lord spoke to me while sliding down the slope, “Jack, you’ve been backsliding.”

Even now, those words move me deeply. I did not feel shame or condemnation, but I did feel humbled and alerted to the presence of an unperceived weakness my Father, in His patience and love, wanted me to address. I began talking to God immediately as I walked back to the house determined to find out exactly what was going on with me spiritually.

As believers, we have all experienced times when our relationship with God seems to be moving forward on the outside, but on the inside, we’re sliding back down the proverbial hill. We may find ourselves doing all the right things, but we are not really gaining any spiritual traction. This is when we can become in danger of a fall.

I asked the Lord what to do, and He led me to Deuteronomy 10:

“What does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD …for your good?…Be stiff-necked no longer.” (vv. 11-13, 16)

Through those verses the Lord ministered to me and re-awakened my heart to a fresh place of fellowship with Him. He renewed my spirit and helped me move forward on my spiritual journey again.

If you’re feeling spiritually stagnant, the Lord wants to bring you into a season of spiritual refreshing! Whatever it is that has you stuck or sliding, the Lord will help you overcome it as you draw near to Him.

He will guide you on how to shake off the spiritual stiffness that is holding you back and assist you in limbering up your spiritual muscles! When I wore the brace, it was painful for me to bow my head and even harder to look up. As believers, we bow our heads in humility to acknowledge our dependency on the Lord, and we lift our heads in worship of Him. Both of these physical actions reflect the spirit of worship.

When we neglect to do these things, we run the risk of becoming inwardly rigid and spiritually stuck. In other words, our physical actions (or inaction) can allow our spiritual necks to become stiff. But our physical stance before the Lord can indicate the inner stance of our hearts.

Anytime I am feeling spiritually stiff, I have found no better way to limber up my spiritual muscles than through heartfelt, genuine worship. As we worship God whole-heartedly, He is able to adjust our hearts and recalibrate our spirits. This loosens up our spiritual stiffness and helps us to move forward with Him again.

I encourage you to spend time with God in worship. He will loosen up your spiritual muscles and allow you to grow deeper in your relationship with Him.

 

Ever grateful to be walking with Him,

 

 

Pastor Jack

P.S. As a thank you for your gift of $35 or more to support Jack Hayford Ministries, we would like to send you Pastor Jack’s special audio series, Spiritually Stuck? These messages will encourage your spirit and help you enter into new and deeper levels of relationship with the Lord. Audio Messages include: Recovering the Cutting Edge, Recovering Maximum Effectiveness, The Wholeness of Worship, Worship Grows with Understanding, and The Power of Worship.