Stoke the Faith Flame: Overcoming Spiritual Weariness

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Over the years, I’ve had numerous people express to me that they have experienced a weariness concerning their faith journey. This is actually a pretty common phenomenon for Christians to encounter in life. I’ve also experienced such a weariness at times in my Christian life. Life’s pressures of job, family, ministry, etc. can weigh heavily on us at times. Sometimes, we can feel adrift without sensing a clear direction from the Lord.

Amazingly, C. S. Lewis felt that way at times, even in his remarkable life. Here’s a quote I recently uncovered from him: “Nothing about us except our neediness is, in this life, permanent.”1  As surprising as it sounds, a recent biography reveals that near the end of Lewis’s life, he felt he had been something of a failure when it came to his apologetics ministry.2 Spiritual and intellectual weariness and discouragement seem to hit even the best of us.

Daily Spiritual Practices: Joyful, Prayerful, Thankful (JPT)

There’s a section of Scripture that has come to mean a great deal to me—especially during times of spiritual dryness. It reminds me of the importance of daily spiritual practice, particularly when we feel fatigued in faith.

In the passage, the apostle Paul succinctly states what are virtually his talking points to the first-century Christian churches that were going through challenging times. He declares:

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

–1 Thessalonians 5:16–18

It is possible to be joyful in Christ even if you are not very happy. You can also pray even if you don’t feel like it. And there is always something we can be thankful to God for in life.

Stoking the Faith Flame

One’s faith is like a fire. It has to be stoked in order to burn brightly and give off light and heat. C. S. Lewis reminds us that a spiritual life must be fed:

That is why daily praying and religious reading and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed.3

According to the apostle Paul, faith is uniquely energized through God’s inspired Word. He writes: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17).

Hearing the message comes through participating in church services and liturgy where God’s Word is read and recited, by devotionally reading Scripture, and by studying biblically derived Christian doctrine.

So, stoke the faith flame! Remind yourself of what you believe as a Christian, and keep practicing the basics of the Christian spiritual life. Call upon the triune God to grant you the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

And finally, recognize that you are not alone in facing spiritual struggles. All believers experience weariness. God is using even these trials to develop your faith and character in his Son, Jesus Christ.

Reflections: Your Turn

Have you experienced weariness in the Christian life? What helped you to pull out of it?

Resources

Endnotes

  1. C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves (New York: Harcourt, 1960), 33.
  2. See Alister McGrath, C. S. Lewis—A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2013).
  3. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 125.

  One thought on “Stoke the Faith Flame: Overcoming Spiritual Weariness

  1. drogstad
    May 8, 2018 at 6:38 am

    Hi Ken,

    I always read Reflections, and learn something. I really like what you shared today – it is so true that we need constant reminding and encouragement from God’s Word. When you quoted Romans 10:17 in that context, I saw how that verse applies to our faith being built up through God’s Word on a daily basis I always thought of that verse as referring only to our initial salvation. But it’s a principle.

    I’m looking forward to our time in London, and hearing your talk on C.S. Lewis. What an exciting trip! We’ll see you and Joan soon!

    Blessings, Diane

    >

    • May 8, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      Thanks, Diane. Looking forward to our trip.

      Ken Samples

  2. gordon473
    May 8, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Thanks for the excellent observations!
    I would add that “giving thanks”, like love, is primarily an act of the will, not waiting for a thankful feeling. That’s why it is possible to give thanks in all circumstances. It doesn’t require necessarily feeling thankful.
    I’ve found that thanking God for things I’m not feeling thankful for helps restore my confidence in Him, and reminds me to trust in His character, knowing He loves me.

    • May 8, 2018 at 4:22 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Gordon.

      Ken Samples

  3. Rita
    May 23, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    I missed this blog earlier somehow, but still want to respond. The times I’ve felt somewhat adrift, I also begin to feel lonely, a separate feeling even when I’m not relationally lonely. I have found that my “loneliness” is due to a longing for God, an emptiness in my gut. The longer it takes to get my focus back to Him. the more difficult it seems to get. A kind of apathy seems to set in. Dangerous. One way to prevent that from happening, I have found, is to develop the discipline (and habit) of thanking and praising the Lord in everything, which I developed over lots of my children’s spilled milk. And I liked Gordon’s remark that you don’t necessarily have to feel grateful, but in applying the habit my feelings begin to change,my focus begins to turn to the Lover of my soul, and His grace begins to overflow. Works for me every time.

    • May 23, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks for your thoughtful and helpful comments, Rita.

      Ken Samples

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