Has there ever been a time in your Christian walk when you began to struggle with carrying out or participating in spiritual activities? You suddenly found that studying the word of God and spending quality time in prayers was now like a huge task and you began to cook up excuses to postpone study of the bible and prayers. You began to find Church Service boring and would prefer to indulge in other activities than to go to Church. You began to find fault in a lot of the usual activities carried out in Church and became easily offended by the messages of the Pastor or the words and activities of fellow believers in the Church.
A lot of Believers have had this experience at one time or the other, and some are currently having this experience of dryness.
Dryness of the soul is when you lose interest in spiritual values. It is a season when you are no longer enthusiastic about spiritual things. You no longer find pleasure in praying, in studying the bible, in evangelism, in fellowship with other believers, and in all the Christian activities you were passionate about when you first received Christ into your heart and became baptised in the Holy Ghost. Watchman Nee calls it “the poisoning of the soul”. The heart will just be sad and you cannot lay a finger on the cause. The soul becomes sorrowful and loses its capacity for performance.
It is a very dangerous trend. It creeps in a subtle way and may not be taken seriously at first, but it soon begins to take over the soul until the soul becomes completely dry. It can affect your body and spirit if it persists. It leads to demonic possession and then death. If allowed to continue, it could lead to insanity in some people. Those that allow it get to this level may not be able to fully recover their minds back.
Romans 1:21-32, gives insight into the causes and consequences of dryness of the soul.
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
REASONS FOR DRYNESS OF THE SOUL
From the scripture above, we see four reasons for dryness of the soul:
1. When your worship level declines and you did not quickly upgrade it.
2. When you are not thankful- forgetting the advantage you have over others. Forgetting the grace you enjoy in Christ Jesus. When you are consumed by in-ordinate ambition and as a result become unthankful for the goodness of God you are currently experiencing. Ingratitude is the mother of depression.
3. When you are vain in your imagination- When you worry unnecessarily over the future. When you have thoughts of hopelessness; thoughts that deny redemptive benefits. When you continually meditate on and expect evil, thereby denying the benefits of redemption.
4. When your heart becomes darkened- (And their foolish heart was darkened)
There are three things that define a foolish heart:
a. When you no longer conceive the presence of God in your heart. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth. Psalms 53:1. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 2Corinthians 4:3-4
b. When you substitute activity for intimacy. In the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-12, the five foolish virgins were rejected because the Master was not acquainted with them (But He replied, I solemnly declare to you, I do not know you [I am not acquainted with you] Matthew 25:12 Amp). This means there was No Intimacy between them. They were so busy with activities that they had no time to intimate with the Master. When your heart departs from meditation on God then you have forgotten God. Closeness to God is not by geographical measurement but in the heart. They draw near me with their mouth but their heart is far (Isaiah 29:13). Distance with God is not measured by kilometres but by time (minutes and hours). If it takes you one hour to remember that God is around, then you are one hour far from Him. God is not distance far, He is time far. Those that go far shall perish. So, you can be busy and yet be close to God, whereas someone else is on the mountain and yet is far. It is the heart that measures the distance between God and you.
c. When you are covetous. E.g. The rich fool that wanted to get more but God demanded for his soul. See story in Luke 12:16-21. You are rich on earth but not rich towards heaven. When you are self centred at the expense of things of the kingdom then your heart is foolish and will be darkened.
THE DANGERS OF DRYNESS OF THE SOUL
From Romans 1:21-32, we see the dangers of dryness of the soul
1. God will give you up- He will no longer be of assistance to you as regards quality decisions. You become like a bastard. He will no longer be with you as Father, Master and Friend. (There are three levels of relationship between God and man: (1) Father – Son- at born again (2) Master- Servant- You grow into this as you take up responsibilities (3)Friend- When God sees your faithfulness as servant, He promotes you to friend. If your dryness of soul persists, God will give you up on these three levels.
2. You will begin to do abominable/unthinkable things
3. It will finally lead to death. At this point, your mind is now sealed as with a hot iron so that you no longer hear the voice of God.
THE RECOVERY PROCESS
To recover from dryness of the soul, you will need to recover from the four things that led to it in the first place.
1. Begin to give God regular, consistent quality worship from a sincere heart.
2. Begin to meditate on the good things God has done for you and be thankful for His goodness to you. Let Him see that your service to Him is because you love Him, not because of what you seek from Him. Your attitude should be thus: “Lord, even if you refuse to grant me this desire of my heart, I will still love and serve you”.
3. Begin to meditate on the benefits of your redemption; not on the lies of the devil. Live your life with knowledge that Christ paid the price for your salvation in full.
4. Let consciousness of God’s presence fill your heart continually
5. Let the practice of intimacy with God become your lifestyle. Draw near to God with your heart, not with your mouth. Your practice of intimacy should be both in the closet and moment by moment (taking a few moments out of your normal daily schedule to talk with God).
6. As the Lord blesses you with wealth, you must also be rich toward God. Spend your substance on Kingdom activities. Derive joy from being a sponsor of Kingdom projects.
7. Pray and worship God with a loud voice. Go to a place where you can pray and worship loudly. Look for a prayer partner who you can worship God together with a loud voice.
When you do the things listed above, the dryness of your soul will depart and you will be restored to joyful and satisfying fellowship with God.
By Pastor Samuel O. Osaghae