How to Overcome Spiritual Stagnation

Romans 12:1-2 helps us with this too.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

1. View the mercies of God. If we lack passion or interest in being holy, it comes from a failure to contemplate God’s mercies toward us!

2. Remind ourselves that the only rational response to Christ giving us all of Himself is to give all of ourselves to Him.

Our Obedience Is Not The Basis For The Relationship

God’s commandments, and our obedience, rest on that loving relationship; they do not form the relationship. We obey because we are loved; we are not loved because we obey. The love of our Father precedes and stimulates the obedience of His children. We are to forgive and live and love as dearly loved children, imitating the One who already is our Father, not performing to bribe God to become our Father.

Two Things which are central to Following Jesus

Paul gives us a springboard for the Christian life in the simple phrase: “Therefore…in view of God’s mercy.” And then he urges us to do two things which are central to following Jesus.

#1) (vs. 1) In view of God’s mercy…offer your bodies as a living sacrifice. This is temple terminology. The confusion is that there were several different kinds of offerings.

  • Sin offering: But Jesus is our sin offering.
  • whole burnt offering: It had to be without defect (holy and without blemish). Why? Such an animal was expensive. It showed that all you had was at God’s disposal, not leftovers. To be a “living sacrifice” is to be fully at God’s disposal.

In mentioning our physical bodies Paul is saying that God does not want a purely inward and abstract worship, but a practical and total one. He wants us to give him everything we do.

#2) (vs. 2) In view of God’s mercy…Renew your mind. That’s how the Christian life occurs. It is the way we are to be transformed into Christ-likeness. He doesn’t define this but probably means more than just thinking true thoughts, but that the governing influence of our mind is reoriented. We could say that our imagination is captured by Christ. Who he is and what he did fires the imagination and controls our minds.

Four Signs of Weak Faith

4 Signs of weak faith…

  1. Demanding visible proof (John 4:48). We desire to see and yet we may be deceived through sight more readily than through almost any other sense. Faith based upon sight is weak. “The devils believe and tremble (James 2:19).” It is really unbelief which demands visible proof (John 20:25, 29). People who will not hear God as He speaks through the Bible will not hear Him when He speaks through miracles.
  2. Driven to God only by overwhelming need. Now, such faith is better than no faith, but it is not so good as the faith that draws us to God by gratitude and love. It is better to be driven than not to come at all; it is still better to be drawn.
  3. While it prays it dictates to God. Strong faith prays out of humility which allows God to guide and dictate rather than the folly of thinking vice versa. Those of weak faith have the impression that they could do better than the Lord, if THEY had the whole thing in hand.
  4. Impatience with God.  It is comforting to know that Jesus honors even faith like this. Though impatient and dictatorial, driven by need and seeking visible evidence, He answers the prayer. He pities our weakness. The fire of trust doe not blaze up; He sees more of the smoke of impatience and unbelief than of faith, but He will not allow the sparks to be trampled. Indeed, He fans the sparks into a flame.