Have you been experiencing an emptiness in your spiritual life recently? Maybe you’ve been disappointing yourself by sliding into behaviour you know is wrong but feel compelled to do. Or it could be a nagging sense that you’re not living up to your values like you should.
If any of this sounds familiar, the problem might be you’ve strayed a little too far from the Lord. Here are some tips on how to get back to where you need to be.
You’ll never fix anything without admitting there is a problem. This is something a lot of us have a hard time with. For long-time Christians who value their spiritual walk with the Lord, it can be a bitter pill to admit you’ve lost your way. But, doing so is often the best way to refocus your priorities. Once you recognize that your spiritual life needs work and own up to that fact, clearly and without resentment, you can take the steps you need to fix it.
Find your spiritual support group
One of the worst things about struggling with your spiritual life is the fact that it is so personal, so isolating. While it’s true that nobody will ever be able to walk your walk for you, you don’t need to go it completely alone either. That’s where your spiritual support group comes in.
Being able to talk openly about your spiritual journey and difficulties, without fear of judgement or ridicule is incredibly freeing. Having a chance to discuss spiritual issues with others, ask advice, and to listen to others and have a chance to return the favour can be just what you need to help you get closer to God. It will help you to examine your life from an outside perspective, help you understand where others struggle, and how unique each Christian’s relationship with Christ truly is. Most importantly, it will keep you accountable when you try to improve.
The best place to find this sort of group is at church. If you’re not currently attending, or like so many people these days, often intend to go but rarely follow through, this is an obvious and immediate way to get closer to God. Go to church, but don’t stop there, find ways to integrate into the church community. Join groups dedicated to specific causes, meet people you can consider friends, open up to them and be open to listening in return and find your spiritual support group.
Untangle yourself from negative relationships
While we are talking about building up positive relationships that can help you get closer to the Lord, we should also acknowledge that some relationships are not so helpful. Have you been trying to make a change in your life but find yourself constantly held back by some of the people in it? Maybe you have an old friend who enables and encourages your worst impulses and habits. Or maybe one of your co-workers is an aggressive atheist who frequently makes snide and disparaging remarks about religion, making you feel ashamed and insecure to live your faith in front of them. As Christians we should do what we can to reach out to others, but if your own spiritual walk is struggling it is better to avoid these corrosive elements while you tend to your own journey.
The most important relationship in your life will always be your personal relationship with God. That has to be the priority in your life, and the number one thing you should be focusing on. Don’t allow someone else to damage that relationship for the sake of appeasing them or being polite. If you feel like a certain friend or family member is (intentionally or not) sabotaging your faith, it’s time to put them at arms-length, at least for now.
Do what you can for others
Maybe the best way to get closer to the Lord is to emulate the example He gave us. Do what Jesus did and look for ways to help others, to lift up the needy, and protect the vulnerable. It’s a very simple but a very powerful idea, and the Bible lays it out explicitly in Matthew 25:40 ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
If you are looking for ways to improve your relationship with the Lord, why not start with the most direct method? When we look after the sick, poor, and needy, we are acting in exactly the way the Lord asked us to. We are following the exact formula He demonstrated for us. What could be better than that?