What the Average Christian Lacks

Dan Lenington on June 11, 2013

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To be honest, it feels like I've just learned how to breathe as a Christian. I've been saved for 17 years, but I've never had the full joy that Christ promised to give to His disciples through fellowship with God, victory over sin, answers to prayer, abundant fruit, and heavenly guidance. At first, it was learning how to pray after knowing for a long time that I didn't really have God's ear. As the weeks went by, however, I observed my joy grow but also disappear at times. I was really at a loss to explain what was happening. I noticed my appetites changing as well. Every other night was typically movie night, but we had gone 5 weeks and only watched one movie. Gradually, the pieces came together. I kept thinking of Galatians 5:16 "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." and 1 John 1:4-6 "And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. It we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth." Then I realized that the fruit of the Spirit, were not character qualities I had to manufacture but fruit that the Spirit of God produces when I "Walk in the Spirit." So what was walking in the Spirit? John 15 also talks about abiding in the vine (Christ) and having your prayers answered, abundant fruit, and full joy. Comparing these passages it dawned on me that as long as I had sin that was unconfessed I was walking in the flesh, abiding in darkness, and disconected from the vine (the source of life). God is light and whenever I have even a little darkness in me, our fellowship is broken. I had been living in and out of fellowship with God over the years but mostly out of fellowship until only recently. I had done all the right things but was trying to manufacture my own love, joy, peace, longsuffering, temperance, meekness etc. Sin was not only blocking my prayers but also my fellowship. None of this sounds revolutionary, but what now made sense was that most Christians live without victory over sin, answers to prayer, abundant fruit, heavenly guidance, or fellowship with God because sin has ever so subtly disconnected them from God. They are walking in the flesh and not the Spirit. Their appetites are for worldly things. They would much rather watch a movie, play a game, sleep, eat, or whatever else than pray and fellowship with God over His Word. Most Christians (including me) don't really ENJOY God. My lack of desire to pray proved this to me loudly and clearly. But as I rooted out pet sins that I had ignored or protected for years, God became my passion. I enjoyed talking about Him, praying to Him, and reading about Him more even than watching movies. Video games and TV shows seemed hollow. It wasn't that I was depriving myself of them. I just didn't have an appetite for them. Some days I would neglect time with God (usually because I slept in). These days I would struggle with temptation, lose my joy and patience, and feel vaguely lost. But when I stopped, got quiet and asked the Lord to show me what was wrong, inevitably, he would convict me of my rudeness, laziness, and selfishness on specific occasions since I had last been in fellowship with Him. When I fully confessed them to Him and asked for cleansing, the joy and everything else returned. Sadly, most of us are content with occasional spiritual "highs" when God wants us to be in constant fellowship with constant joy, peace, answers to prayer, victory, guidance and fruit. The problem is we give into temptation to walk in the flesh and instantly its all gone. This is basic Christianity, but not normal Christianity. After learning how to walk in the Spirit, now I'm learning to do it consistently. But God wants us to also pray in the Spirit (according to His leading) and be filled with the Spirit (be empowered by Him for the task He has for us). I'm not content to now just breathe, I want to learn how to crawl, walk, run, and fight! I thank the Lord for His patience with me. If you don't have full joy, daily answers to prayer, heavenly guidance, abundant fruit that remains, and an honest appetite for spiritual things because you enjoy fellowship with God, then ask the Lord to reveal your sin which is keeping you in the darkness, in the flesh and in the dirt. The world has nothing compared to this!