These are notes from our 1/23/2011 church meeting.
Leader: Philip Weatherford
What should we do when we are struggling spiritually? How do I avoid simply "going through the motions?"
The inspiration for this assembly topic came from the chorus of a song:
I don't wanna go through the motions.
I don't wanna go one more day,
without your all-consuming
passion inside of me.
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?" —Matthew West, "The Motions"
I remember when I was a kid, sometimes my maternal grandfather would have my brother and I out in the yard doing yard work, and no matter what the task was we were doing, he constantly told us we were just "going through the motions" and not getting anything done. You know, like raking leaves, and even though the rake was in my hands, and I was moving the rake in the sweeping motion the way it's designed, and progressing in a forward motion, there were as many leaves being left behind as were being "raked" forward. So even though it looked like I was raking leaves, the true measure of my effort was seen in the area behind me, and that area still needed to be raked.
In our service to God, how often are we just "going through the motions" in our daily lives? I often find myself realizing that I may be saying or doing something in an effort to serve God, but my heart is not in it.
THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN. (Matt. 15:8-9 NASB)
So when my heart is not in it, what does that mean, really? Is it that I don't love the Lord with all my heart?
And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. (Mark 12:30 NKJV; see also Deut. 6:5)
Or perhaps I somehow have stopped letting the Lord lead my life:
Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go." (Isa. 48:17 NASB)
Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105 NASB)
I am convinced that we all love the Lord with all our hearts, so when I find myself "going through the motions" in my service to God, I have become distracted by feelings and emotions or cares of this world.
- "My efforts don't really make a difference." But they really do because "we are God's fellow workers" (1 Cor. 3:6-9).
- "There's not really anything I am good at." But there really is (Matt. 10:42; 25:34-40; Phil. 1:21-22).
- "The distractions of this life have drawn my focus away." (Matt. 16:26; Phil. 4:6-8; 2 Cor. 4:18; Rom. 8:18)
- "I don't have time right now, maybe later." (1 Sam. 12:21; Psalm 10:4; Rev. 3:17; Eccl. 12:1)
So when I understand and recognize that my condition bears the mark of just "going through the motions," what can I do to make my heart and intentions right with God?
- Heb. 3:12-14 – Take care, encourage, be partakers.
- Eph. 5:15-17 – Be careful how you walk, make the most of your time, understand the will of the Lord.
- Acts 17:27 – Know that He is not far from us.
- Jam. 4:8 – Draw near to God.
- Heb. 11:6 – He is a rewarder to those who diligently seek Him.
- Matt. 7:7-8 – Ask Him to help us.
- 2 Cor. 5:14-17 – Understand that He loved us so much that he died for us.
- Isa. 25:1 – Lifelong commitment to praise.
Let's strive to "not go one more day without His all-consuming passion inside of us" and give Him our all!
- Recognize, and admit, that there is a problem. In my experience GOD often feels distant in these situations.
- Pray about it.
- Confess to Him that you are struggling. If you've sinned, confess your sin and ask for forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
- Ask GOD to create within you a clean heart and a steadfast spirit (Psalm 51:10).
- Pray for protection from Satan (Matt. 6:13).
- Tell GOD you want to draw near to Him and ask Him to draw near to you (Jam. 4:8).
- Ask GOD to help you discover passionate living—abundant life (John 10:10).
- Replace unhealthy input sources.
- Read your Bible daily. Remember to maintain an awareness that He is speaking to you.
- Listen to GOD-focused music.
- Avoid watching TV, movies and Internet sources that promote worldly values.
- Tell a friend(s) about your struggle. Ask them to pray for you and periodically ask you how things are progressing.