I hate losing things! Just recently I’ve been trying really hard to get something back! I’ve been working hard to get my weight down and fitness levels back to where they were last summer. I must admit that the long winter months have caused me to lose my edge and put on a few pounds. I had a fantastic work out at the gym yesterday and for the first time for months I felt like I’d started to hit those levels again. Awesome!
Paul challenged the Galatians about losing their edge. He said: ‘You were running a good race. Who cut in on you?’ (Galatians 5:7)
As Christians it is so easy for us to lose our spiritual edge and become knocked off track by all kinds of things and be distracted by the myriad of opportunities that this world throws at us every day. One of the most challenging verses in the bible is this: ‘This is how we know we are in Him. Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did’ (1 John 2:6).
Wow – that is some challenge! Especially when you consider how Jesus walked! However the good news is this: God has never made demands of us in scripture that He doesn’t believe we can fulfil with the help of His Holy Spirit. He has already provided everything we need for life and godliness (1 Peter 1:3).
The starting point is to get our spiritual edge back and to re-discover the passion we once had for Christ and our desire to read His Word, pray, witness, serve etc. We can all (yes – even pastors!) lose it but the good news is that it can be re-discovered!
Here’s how we can get that spiritual edge back…
Recognise We’ve Lost It In The First Place
I can remember in my early years as a pastor, as I struggled with the busy-ness and demands of ministry and family life (5 children under the age of 13!), that there were more than one or two occasions when I became tetchy, irritable, abrupt etc., and felt almost a million miles away from God and His calling upon my life. On each occasion, my wife Julia, would realise that something was missing and say ‘Simon, when was the last time you spent some time with God?!’ She had identified that I’d lost my spiritual edge and was running on empty. It’s so easy to do and is often obvious to everyone but us!
We need to recognise when something is missing. Here are some indicators:
- Loss of passion for God, church or His people (church attendance may even be dwindling)
- Loss of passion for our calling or ministry
- No longer using those God given gifts and abilities that God has uniquely given us.
- Giving up on your God given dream.
- Serving Him is just costing too much right now.
- Doing things in our own strength.
- Becoming distracted or bored.
Maybe you can’t precisely put your finger on it – but you know you’ve lost your spiritual edge.
Paul loved Timothy like a son and from his prison cell penned some of his last words prior to execution. His final exhortation to Timothy was pretty much this ‘Tim – you’ve lost your edge – and you need to get it back!’ You can find these words in his letter to him:
‘For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of live and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner’ (2 Tim. 1:6-8)
Paul had already reminded Timothy of the great faith of his mother and grandmother and then encourages him to have that same faith and same life in God. It’s almost as if Paul is encouraging Timothy to rekindle and stir up that faith and unique calling and gifting upon his life. Why? Because he’d lost his edge.
Of course the results of losing our edge and our passion for Jesus Christ and His Kingdom are multiple, but the ultimate danger is that we will eventually ‘wander away from the faith and pierce ourselves with many griefs’ (1 Tim. 6:10). My heart breaks for those who have lost their way spiritually. If that is you right now – can I encourage you to return to your loving Heavenly Father. His arms are as open and as welcoming now as the day you first discovered Him.
So it’s important primarily, to identify that we’ve lost that edge to our faith and second:
Desire Your Edge Back
This is the crucial next step. We must want it back! There must be something in us that desires to return to our first love and have our spiritual passion restored. The danger for so many of us as Christians, is that we become content with what we have and sit back and accept our lot. May God inspire us continually to enlarge our faith, to grow mature, to go deeper and to take risks for His Kingdom! We simply cannot afford to stand still.
Make a decision today that you want back what you’ve lost and you’re going to seek after it with everything you have!
Discover Where We Lost It
Have you ever lost something and asked someone if they know where it is, only for them to reply with the question: ‘Do you know where you were when you lost it?!’ Our responses will be something like, ‘Duh! If I knew where I was when I lost it I wouldn’t have lost it in the first place!!’
If you feel you’ve lost your spiritual edge or passion then it’s important to prayerfully consider how you lost it. Paul challenged the Galatians with these words ‘Who cut in in you….you were running a good race.’
We must recognise that our enemy the devil will use any tool at his disposal to distract us, disempower us, disable us or cool us down! (1 Peter 5:8). He will use such things as worldly distractions, seemingly great opportunities, sickness, the critical words of others, mistakes, apathy, lethargy, discouragement & disillusionment, past hurts or failings, unforgiveness, tiredness, problems and attacks. He has the full repertoire!
I’ve known Christians who were once so on fire for God. They had such great vision & passion and were using their gifts, serving, encouraging and inspiring others etc. but now they have completely lost their way. What a tragedy! You see the devil took note and placed a target on their backs. He doesn’t need to bang a big drum and announce his arrival….he’s far more subtle than that and will use any means he can to cause you and I to lose our way spiritually. Make no mistake, the battle is very real but don’t forget that ‘Greater is He who is in you than the one who is in the world‘ (1 John 4:4). Rest assured we can, with God’s help, overcome the enemy of our faith!
Getting The Edge Back
Easier said than done? Well, having identified we’ve lost it, and desiring to get it back – how do we do it?! I believe the key is to start earnestly seeking Him again and to ask Him to ‘fan into flame’ again that small flame that was once a blazing fire. The Holy Spirit is promised to all of us who ask.
So ask! Ask Him to fill you again and to release a fresh passion and fire for Him and His Kingdom. I have made this request so many times and God has always touched me and restored me! Ask Him to give you that ‘spirit of power, love and self-discipline’ to enable to walk as Jesus did!
Come to Him in absolute weakness, because ‘His grace is sufficient for you – for His power is made perfect in weakness.‘ (1 Corinthians 12:10)
Return To Your First Love
‘Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.’(Revelation 2:4-5)
The Message puts it even more succinctly ‘You walked away from your first love – Why?’
I guess the key is to return to the basics : spend some time each day in prayer, worship, conversation and reading His word. Look for opportunities to serve God and others in your local church. The best way to get your edge back is to return to those very basic practices that you first enjoyed when you found Jesus.
As you rediscover your spiritual edge you will notice a difference to your life and your relationships, along with the discovery of new sense of purpose, peace, fulfillment, joy and I’m sure some unexpected blessings. The effort will be more than worth it!
You might find the Christian walk tough right now and you may feel you’ve lost your spiritual edge but remember this:
‘[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energising and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.’ (Philippians 2:13 AMP)
God is with you, working in you, energising and creating in you the power and desire, and the same ‘One who began a good work within you will continue it until it is finally finished!’ (Phil. 1:6 NLT)
If you’re looking for a book to help you renew your spiritual passion this is the one. I read this several years ago and it is a classic. It should be on every bookshelf!