Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been more deliberate about personal development. Not that I wasn’t doing this before but I wanted to scale up and increase my knowledge base.
I created a timeblock for reading books and watching videos tailored towards the areas I was seeking improvement. There was also one mastermind amongst others whose works I was voraciously feeding on. I journaled, tracked my development patterns and dug into research on systems and structures for my assignments and projects.
Then I noticed something started to shift in a bad way for me. When it was time to get into the routine for my spiritual activities, I mean studying, praying, listening to sermons and reading christian literature, I’d begin to drag. It’s not that I won’t do them but there was this sluggishness and indifference that was subtly creeping in.
I’d sleep off few minutes before fellowship time and convince myself that I was tired because I was recuperating from an illness. (I had been ill around that time too). But when my eyes were glued to those books and videos, scribbling down thoughts from the materials and churning out creative ideas, I didn’t remember that I was recovering from an illness o.
I got another excuse. ‘God is my Father. My relationship with him is not based on the intensity of my prayer time. Besides I can do nothing to impress him. ’ Just see radarada excuse.
I’d be reading my bible and my mind would wander to different things. I’d start thinking about the height I wanted to reach in life, the lessons I was learning, my dreams, you know, big stuff. It was not funny.
Gradually, I became reluctant to call my prayer partner for our weekly prayers. Kenneth Hagin’s book that at the start of the year I was excited to delve into became a big punishment to me. I just didn’t want to touch it.
The excitement at self-development was making my head burst and I just wanted to keep drinking in more of those intellectual insights. After like two days, my eye clear mehn…
‘Ife Grace! Are you okay at all? What is going on?’
At that time too, I was having a burden to pray for someone but I was ‘sleep praying’ that burden. But when it gets to ‘how to achieve great results’ or ‘how to build a successful career’ sleep disappears. Thank God I quickly gave myself sense and responded to the nudging of the Spirit concerning that burden. It was later I found out there had been an attack on the person in question.
This is what I learnt. Personal development is great. Building intellectual knowledge is powerful, but if we are not careful, we can descend into the sense realm subtly without realizing it.
The sense realm is where the devil loves to engage us because he knows that right there, he will win every battle he throws at us. He runs from the realm of faith. He is angry when we stay charged up in the spirit because in this realm, he whimpers.
I share this because the devil never rests. We must preserve the atmosphere of the Spirit in our daily walk. Once a believer begins to lose interest in spiritual things, I don’t care how legitimate his focus on other things are, there is danger ahead. You will not be walking worthy of the life pleasing to God!
The life of the Spirit must remain priority. I’m blessed with a local assembly and a Pastor who knows how to kick lukewarmness out of a person’s life. Our desire must be like that of Job when he said, ‘I have treasured his words more than daily food.’
When as a believer, you are excited about other things but the word and prayer disinterests you, it’s a sign something is wrong. Fix it.
How was I able to switch back into spiritual atmosphere. After I discovered my indifference to the things of the Spirit, that day, I didn’t touch any of those books or watch a video.
I deliberately gave myself to the word and prayer and by the time I was done, a song dropped in my spirit. You need to listen to ‘I see Jesus’ by Outburst Music. Oh my God! That song burst my head. I was just shouting ‘Whooh’ alone in my room. Even my body knew that something had shifted.
I sat with my bible and even though at first, my mind travelled here and there, I got it to stay with the word. Praying in tongues while reading my bible and muttering scriptures have helped me stay focused on the word. Writing my thoughts on the scripture I’m meditating on has grestly helped. I also sat under sound teaching of God’s word. I worshiped. Sinach and Dunsin Oyekan came in handy. Powerful gospel artists I tell you.
In staying with this process, it doesn’t matter whether it is mechanical or not. It doesn’t matter if you are not excited at the word yet or ‘feeling’ charged up when praying.
This statement by Pastor Emmanuel Iren hits home.
‘Duty before delight.’
Stay dutifully with the word, particularly the epistles and stay praying. Put the Pauline prayers on your lips, delight will break forth.
Do I want to get to the top, yeah? Am I still passionate about reaching my goals and building solid structures and systems? Of course. Do I want to gain massive wealth and make great impacts? Definitely! But I want to do this from the place of the Spirit.
I will enjoy the intellectual provisions, I’ll develop my mind and build my knowledge base, but this fight to stay in communion must remain top priority. There is a balance to these things.
Let me end this with words by Reverend Peter Alabi. Really, these words have kept me in check..
‘That prayerlessness you are experiencing at the moment is not the real issue. The real, dangerous issue is ahead. Let me explain what this means. Whenever you struggle to pray, something is coming. The devil is making plans to crush you. His aim in seeing that you are weak in the place of prayer is a ploy to achieve what’s ahead…. Fight to protect your devotion!’
Our weekly devotional is up.