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"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Our Own Worst Enemy: Overcoming and Avoiding Spiritual Emptiness

Not everyone is going to like you. You could be the nicest, kindest person in class or at work, but there will still be at least one person who won't appreciate you. If you make it apparent for example that you're a Christian some may take offense to that. Some simply take offense at seeing the Cross. Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by opposition when you just want to stand firm and make peace at the same time.

Still, while it can be overwhelming dealing with others, often it's ourselves that prove the most threatening.

Many Christians wonder if they've committed some sin that God will not forgive. Some passages like this one make apparent that there is a sin He won't forgive, "...but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven." Many after doing something which sounds like that, (cursing God, denying or rejecting Christ/the Holy Spirit, attributing Him to evil) think that they "lost their salvation." And what is a worst feeling than that? In the last month I've been dealing with a lot of bad thoughts regarding my Christian faith. Many occurrences I thought God had given up on me. But, it took some time to realize that can never happen.

You see, the reason why Jesus says a person will not be forgiven is because overtime a person after so violently opposes God's free gift, the Holy Spirit will stop convicting them. It's not because God rejects them, but because they've made it their personal decision to harden their heart, never once receiving Christ. Did you catch that? If you've already accepted the gift, you've "passed from death to life." And Jesus is the one who holds you in His hand. This means that no matter how bad one gets, salvation can't be lost. Think back, almost every believer has a salvation day. (Maybe you grew up in a Christian home but never actually personally gave your life to Christ, then there's a good chance you aren't saved, so say that prayer now!) At that moment in time you were sealed with the Holy Spirit, "a guaranteed inheritance." Nowhere does it say we ourselves can break that seal...and how could we? It's the seal of God. Look at it like this: Jesus died on the cross for everyone. Our condition then is to "Believe on it" and receive the gift. This gift is "irrevocable" for the truly born again.

This is why sermons and Christian friends make it apparent to others to ask Christ to become their savior now, because it can be too late tomorrow.

Alright, so now that we've established that no born again Christian ever has to worry about losing their Savior, we can then look at ways to overcome and avoid spiritual emptiness when it comes, because it comes to everybody. Too often we become our own enemy when neglecting these things.

   Adequate Sleep, Diet, and Exercise.

These are somethings your nutritionist will tell you, but I don't think many realize how vital these things are spiritually. For  example, I find when I get anything less than 6 hours rest I can't think properly the next day and end up being exhausted by the afternoon. When one can't think properly, they're easily influenced by outside forces. A proper diet is also basically the same thing. If you aren't eating well enough, it can leave you feeling weak and depressed. It's the same withe exercise. If you're like me and on the computer a lot, you need to make sure you're spending at least 15 minutes on the treadmill, riding your bike, or going for a walk.

Trust me, do these things well and you will yourself becoming stronger not only physically, but spiritually as well.

        Church & Bible Study groups!
It's important to obviously attend church services. Lately I've been finding myself not going Sunday mornings due to work and the rest of my family not being able to go. Because of this, a feeling of disconnection has surfaced. So, do your best to attend church consistently, or find an alternative. (For example, because I'm often not able to go on Sundays I can go to a Wednesday service at another church.)

Now, while church service is important, I don't think many would put youth or Bible study groups in the same league, which I think is unfortunate. Listening to the pastor is always fantastic, but there's something far more personal in groups. Friendships are made. The New Testament makes it clear that it's important to have fellowship with brothers & sisters in Christ. If you're a highschooler, get involved in the youth group. If you're a college student or young adult, get involved in the young adult group. Not all churches have groups for everyone, but if yours does, why not get involved?

                  Christian Music

Almost every highschooler to young adult has an iPod or iPhone. Movies and books are major mediums, but in today's day and age I think it's fair to say that music is probably the most popular form of media with the younger crowd. Many spend at least an hour a day listening to their favorite songs. Ask yourself: What am I listening to? Is it wholesome? Would I want the whole family to listen to it while riding in the car?

Awhile back at my youth group the pastor did a series on music and its impact. It was then that I realized many of the songs I was listening to had some not so great lyrics. These type of songs can creep up on us, because we like the beat so much that we don't realize what it's doing internally. Some songs can make us feel unnecessarily depressed, give us bad thoughts, etc.

Fill yourself with Christian music. Now, this doesn't mean every song has to be a traditional worship one. For example, while Casting Crowns is a fantastic band, many young people might find their more traditional type of singing rather "old school." A common misconception is that Christian music is usually emotional in tone or overly preachy. Bands like Kutless and 33 Miles are examples that produces songs teens and college students can readily relate to. RED is another band which sadly many Christians don't know about. Give them a try, I can guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Continually filling yourself with Christian music will help fight off spiritual depression.

          Prayer & Reading the Bible

These two are obvious. Many of us neglect prayer, only doing it when we need something. It's the same with the Bible. It's always there, and we know we should read it, but don't since everything else is apparently more important. I was like this for many years. After becoming saved, I should have been growing spiritually, but I neglected two of the most important things in sanctification. I look back and wish I had done those two things consistently, because I would have been better prepared to deal with spiritual problems in the present. Nonetheless, it's never too late to start. Set aside Bible reading every night and the morning, same with prayer.

We become a threat to ourselves when we don't seek to grow spiritually. Look at it like this: Once we become saved we're citizens of Heaven. The war is already won. But we can still lose many, many battles here. We can lose joy and a sense of direction when we try to reject the Spirit Who lives within us. If we don't grow spiritually now, we won't be able to handle problems adequately, whether external or internal. Our minds become weak, and I can speak with clarity that it's hard to function with a weak mind.

So, continue to seek God. Remember, no matter what bad thing or thought you had five minutes or two weeks ago, it didn't change your status. Don't let that hinder you. Just because you don't feel like a Christian doesn't mean you're not. We become our own worst enemy by thinking up crazy things in our heads, believing them, and then trying to go forward on our own. Ask God for help, and He will. And then, put everything listed above into practice. For the born again, life never ends. So get back up, and start again today.


  1. Being a Christian certainly has its challenges and we all go through rough spots. I've certainly made my share of spiritual mistakes both big and small. It can be easy to think that you've made one too many mistakes or that God will finally just give up on you, but this will never be the case. It's always inspiring to read about Christians who have overcome adversity and the Bible has many great examples of this like with Paul. So long as you continue to try your best to live up to God's name and repent of your sins, you'll certainly be okay.

    It sounds like you've gotten over your rough patch. There will likely be more in the future for both of us as life can never be too easy, but God never gives us more than we can handle. Know that he's always got your back and you can go through life without a worry. Through big occasions or day to day activities, it's important to always talk to God and things won't seem as stressful as they once did. What other people think may matter to a small extent while on the job or with friends, but ultimately, you should never feel the need to change who you are to please someone else. As long as you are serving the Lord, you should block out the fact that people may not like that you wear the cross. The cross is a symbol of your devotion and it is something that the Lord is proud of you for wearing.

    I've never had a problem with the music bit as I typically just listen to instrumental, but I do like lyrical songs occasionally. Typically, the lyrical songs that I listen too are Japanese or Christian, but I've listened to Linkin Park and Three Days Grace once in a while. I just google all of the songs that I listen too before I check them out.

    One youtube video for Christian music that I've been using a lot is

  2. There are a lot of great songs there. I got introduced to groups like the Barlow Girls, The Disciple, Letter Black, etc. Although I typically just stick to this video, I'll probably look more up in the future. Heaven and Earth collide is currently my favorite Christian song although it's not in the attached video. There are a few songs in the link that I actually don't care for as one of them is too dark/rap style, but most of them are very good. Upbeat and fast in nature, which are qualities that I like for all forms of media. The very first song is one that I heard hundreds of times before I even knew that it was a Christian song. I personally think that it's pretty amazing for a lyrical song. (Ironically, the song that I don't really care for is Let Go by Red, but the actual band is still fun, that's just not my favorite song by them) Watching out for what you put into your mind is definitely important because it can change you whether you realize what it happening or not. Whether it is music or any other form of media. I feel like if you only watched shows like Walking Dead, Daredevil, etc, that it would potentially be harmful because you are really seeing the darker side of humanity. The atrocities that happen to real people every day can be quite grim and disheartening if you think about it. It's important to also get in some light features or just spend some time thinking about how bright life can be as well. I don't like seeing pain in any form, which is why those shows have never been for me. I'm certainly more sensitive to that kind of thing than I used to be. It's the main reason as to why I actively avoid the new most of the time. Living in ignorance is not a good thing and I try to stay current on what is happening nowadays, but it's still depressing to hear what is happening with the various terrorists and groups that are getting away with so much. Ultimately, they won't get away with it and they will pay, but it can still be tough to swallow. It's why I like watching things that are really happy like Robots in Disguise, Pac Man, Sonic Boom, etc. They're certainly not as deep or thought provoking as the average show, but they're fun to watch and work as total escapism from the world.

    Going to Church is definitely something that is important to do so it's good to hear that you have found a service on Wednesday. Of course, if there was no way, watching sermons online is another alternative and the Lord certainly understands if it is not possible to attend a physical service. Personally, I really like just watching a sermon online or on TV, but I do agree that there is something about actually going to Church that can't be replaced. You're supporting God and the other Christians who are in attendance by being there. I can't say that I've ever been able to get into Youth Groups quite as much. It's one of those things where it just didn't get off on the right foot for me and it's really too late for me to get in on it now. (Not literally as it's never too late, but it would be tough to give it a shot at this point)

  3. As for reading the Bible, I highly recommend starting from the beginning and trying to read it through all the way. At a chapter a day (More depending if the chapter is small or not) I'm almost at the end of Psalms and am nearing the halfway mark. It feels like I've been reading it forever, but it's been a really great habit and I read the Bible first thing in the morning when I get up. Of course, I know that you still read the daily Christian verses on twitter as well so you are typically seeing verses from the Bible every day, which is certainly great.

    So, being a Christian guarantees that there will be some challenges in life, but when you think of all the positives of being a Christian, there is really no contest. Eternal life in paradise with the Lord and our family awaits us and no amount of physical and mental tribulations can deter us from the ultimate goal. There's also the daily satisfaction and joy of being a Christian. The days really are brighter knowing that there is a God and that he is your friend. You've always been a strong Christian and I know that you will be in Heaven Destroyer. It shall be a joyful day when we all ascend and I personally hope that it is sooner rather than later. (Life is a lot of fun of course, but being alive when we finally go to Heaven will be awesome)

    All right, that was a serious comment for a serious article! I had to split it up into three parts because your site says that my comment was too big.... (Another point for Wordpress!) Now, it's time for me to retire for the night. Keep up the great posts Destroyer!