Spiritual Neuropathy

1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins.

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If you know anyone who has diabetes you may be familiar with Peripheral Neuropathy.  Oxford Dictionary defines neuropathy as disease or dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves, typically causing numbness or weakness. Frequently when patients suffer from diabetes, neuropathy is one of the early signs of the disease’s presence.  The patient can lose feeling or experience a tingling sensation as nerve damage grows and spreads; and, left unattended, amputation may prove to be the only solution.  The condition is usually at its worst in patients who haven’t acknowledged the seriousness of their condition and modified their diet.

My mother is a diabetic and she has this in her feet.  She is a true born and bred southern girl and walks around bare foot all the time.  Several times, when visiting with her,  I saw bloody foot prints on her floor. After a few questions, I realized that mom had cut her foot. The neuropathy in her feet had caused them to become numb and she did not feel the pain from the cut on the bottom of her foot.  She was completely unaware that her feet had been cut and she was tracking blood across the kitchen floor.

I think many of us are dealing with neuropathy on a spiritual level.  We have become numb to God and the things of God.  It came on gradually, we didn’t even notice it, until one day we SAW signs of our wounds.  Maybe you no longer experience joy or contentment that Christ promises.  Maybe you are unhappy, frustrated, overworked, and harried.  God promised that His yoke was easy and His burden was light but you are not feeling it right now. Some of you may be angry, bitter or depressed and some of you are living a double life, Christian at church and full blown sinner outside of it.  You don’t even know who you are anymore.

What happened?  You never intended to become this way.  It seemed like one day you were worshiping Jesus, raising your hands at church, crying when you prayed and now you are numb.  Emotionless.  Full blown Spiritual neuropathy.

Fortunately, while the physical reality of peripheral neuropathy is often a chronic malady that may never go away completely, there is a definite cure for the spiritual version.  Jesus comforted his disciples before going to the cross by saying, “When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:26-27)

The problem with spiritual numbness is that it isn’t honest. We have no room in our hearts for the One we say we love most. If Christ is better than anything the world has to offer, why do our lives tell a different story?

In this lifetime, we will never be able to stop having pain, or trouble, becoming tired or weary or simply just sad or depressed at some point. We need to constantly assess our passions and desires, not to squash them, but to strengthen and realign them with God’s desires.

In communing with Christ, we move toward becoming our most authentic self, namely, dead to sin and alive to God. So let me encourage you to make just one change that will promote your spiritual health. If you are spiritually alive in Christ, then live. Reshuffle your priorities and become who you were meant to be. Maybe you are letting life run you and your schedule and not the things of God or God himself. The key to overcoming spiritual numbness is to “fill up” with the Holy Spirit.

Overcoming feelings of spiritual numbness is often not a mental or academic exercise; rather, we need the personal touch of another born-again believer. Here is where the church comes in, with brothers and sisters everywhere, Bible study and, of course, worship services and the preaching of God’s Word we can begin to heal, regain feeling.

You can begin to heal today by, sincerely desiring to be directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit, Confessing your sins and thanking God that He has forgiven all of your sins whether past, present, or future, presenting every area of your life to God for His gracious control, by faith claiming the fullness of the Holy Spirit according to His commandment in Ephesians 5:18 and His promise in 1 John 5:14–15.  God loves you, even when you may not feel like you love him.  1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins.

 

Training Required

warrior-pose-3401143_1920.jpg1 Timothy 4:8

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

As a recent cancer survivor I decided it was time to get into shape.  After making a decision to do something about my health, I whispered a little prayer for God to help me take my words and turn them into action.  Within an hour I heard an advertisement for a local gym offering a $1 registration fee for membership.  It was my first confirmation sign.

Afraid I would change my mind, I decided to talk to my friend and co-worker about the special.  Maybe saying the words out loud would motivate me to move forward and sign up.  The $1 registration was a “Today” only special so I had to make a decision quickly. Needless to say, my friend not only thought it was a good idea, but she wanted to sign up with me.  Confirmation sign two.

On my first day, I looked around the gym which was full of people working on cardio and body sculpting.  I wondered how many of the people in the room were working as hard on building up their spiritual lives as they were their physical bodies.  The last part of the scripture came to my mind “godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come”

It is both the privilege and duty of every Christian to pursue godliness, to train himself to be godly, to study diligently the practice of godliness.  What then is godliness? What are the marks of a godly person? How does a person become godly?

Listed below are 5 ways you can practice godliness:

  1. Honor God – The first commandment says that we should have not other gods before Him.  Is God really number one in your life?  Are you honoring Him with your mouth?  Are you telling others the wonders of His great love for you and them?  Are you honoring Him with your praise in song, by fellowshipping with others and reading His word? Begin your day by honoring God early in the morning as you ask Him to help you honor Him in all you do and say. Your morning prayers need to be attuned to honoring God. Your evening prayers should be occasions to ask for forgiveness and to praise God for all that He allows you to have.
  2. Diligently Seek God – Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” There are two important concepts in this scripture: faith, and a reward to those who seek God.
  3. Produce Good Fruit – John 15:2 reads, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” In verses 16-17 of the same chapter, Jesus states, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another..”  Your fruit production involves virtually every are of your life: your jobs, your child rearing, church attendance, tithing and giving, your love for others, and your marriage.
  4. Apply biblical truth to your life – James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”  Read, study, and meditate on the Bible’s words often to get to know it well and absorb its truths into your soul. Practice applying what it says in the various situations you encounter – focusing especially on trusting in God’s grace rather than your own efforts to be righteous, valuing God over what the world offers, choosing faith over fear, and learning to love in deeper ways.
  5. Practice spiritual disciplines – Spiritual disciplines will help you consistently reduce the amount of selfishness in your attitudes and actions while increasing the amount of holiness in your life. 2 Timothy 3:16  says “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”
    Fellowship with other believers, confession of sin, fasting, meditation, prayer, service, solitude, study, submission, and worship are a few examples of spiritual discipline.

I know that my friend is going to help me stay on track with my physical activity and the goals I set with my new gym membership.  I am so blessed because my workout partner is also a wonderful spiritual friend.  That means that she also helps me focus on my spiritual fitness as well.  If you are a Christian, your journey to godliness is an important part of your spiritual life. Pray for friends to accompany you on your journeyAsk God to connect you with some good friends who are also pursuing spiritual growth so you all can encourage and support each other.