There’s a great song by Matthew West that says, “I don’t want to go through the motions, I don’t want to go one more day, without your all consuming passion inside of me,” and the first time I heard it – I cried. “That’s me! That’s how I feel!” I said, I had been in a rut for a very long time and really wanted to feel that passion once again. The problem? I wasn’t even going through the motions any more! I had gotten to the point where I had given up, I said I believed but I knew that faith without works is dead (James 2:20), and I didn’t have the “works” in me any more. I believed, but I wasn’t really following, and part of me was probably even doubting God at the time. In fact I had come to the conclusion that I was going to hell and that there was no way out of it. How pathetic is that? The problem is, I wasn’t going through the motions any more.
Now, Matthew West’s song makes a lot of sense, if all you’ve been doing for a while is going through the motions and there’s no difference. Don’t get me wrong, your walk with God should definitely come to the point where you are in tune to what the Spirit is telling you and you joyfully listen and obey – I just wasn’t to that point. I had cried more nights than I could count and begged and pleaded for forgiveness from the sins that I was sure were holding me back, and I went through this for nearly two years. Some times were harder than others, other times I just walked around in a fog like nothing mattered any more. There were even times where I read my Bible every night and said a couple of short prayers throughout the day, but when I didn’t get immediate results I quit and gave up once more.
Matthew 7:7 says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find….” And I followed that, and then I felt like God had failed me when I didn’t get what I had asked for which was peace, and passion, and love, and to feel God near me once again. However, I like the way the New Living Translation puts it a little better: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.” That’s what got me, I asked and then I quit, I didn’t keep going. This is not to say that any of us can secure our own salvation by works, the Bible makes it clear that salvation is by faith alone, just that if we’re in a rut keep on trucking. We have to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. What was stopping me? Laziness, pure and simple.
I knew that God was with me, even when I felt like He had forsaken me, because He promises that He would never leave me and at one point before this season of draught we were walking quite closely. I had prayed that God would help me, give me an out when those familiar temptations rose in me, give me a desire for His will and He did! The problem is, I didn’t take the outs, I can look back and see that I knew what I was doing was wrong, that while I was doing it I was convicted but I was too lazy to do something else instead. It was easier to sin. I even had a desire for God, albeit a small one, but it was there! I would wake up early on Sunday mornings, before my alarm even went off, and yet I would go back to sleep and slam the off button when it was time to get up. I was too lazy to get up, even when I was wide awake, and I would force myself to go to bed because if I got up then I may be tired earlier in the evening (as if I really needed to be up until 3 am anyways). So I was stuck, in a rut, without much passion and desire, and no peace at all, and was just plain lazy. I have decided now though to go through the motions. It’s not gonna be easy, no way, and it scares me a bit, but I know if I let God work in me He will. Sure, I’ve said that before, but was I really letting him, and believing whole heartedly? Even part of me, this very minute, is trying to creep up and ask if I’m sure this will work – and that part of me ladies and gents is about to be squashed like a bug.
Yes! This will work. Yes, it will be hard! Yes, it will be tedious, and yes I will have to get off my butt and be proactive. Christ told us to go forth and multiply, so where are my fruits? If I truly believe, then why am I in this rut two years later? Because I stopped going through the motions and I gave up. Writing this is the first step of what may be a very long road, but it’s the first step in the right direction. If you’re in a rut, start going through the motions, even when you have to force yourself. I promise, we can all do this together, lean completely into God and when you don’t know if He’s there lean even further. If you’ve walked with Him once, He’s still there; He’s chosen you now you choose Him. No, this will not be easy, but ask me tomorrow how I’m feeling, and ask me again in a week and then a month because I’m rebuking the spirit of hopelessness right now.