Houston summers usually experience drought. When dry spells begin, city officials stand up signs of water shortage in order to remind us to be cautious and conservative with our water usage. But, the shortage of water is noticed long before the cardboard signs are posted in the ground. Our yards transition from lush green to burnt brown. Tree roots rise to the surface. Leaves fall prematurely. Grounds crack. Drought is obvious.
In the same way, there are signs in our life that indicate spiritual drought. They manifest most visibly in our apathy toward the Lord and His kingdom. We can identify spiritual dry spells by our coldness in corporate worship and when we are unstirred by the lost. More subtle evidences appear in our attitudes and affections. We lose joy. We misplace confidence. We lose track of love. We fail to give thanks.
Jesus describes this as fruitlessness.
The remedy to spiritual drought is quite simple. “Abide in me,” Jesus said. And, He will “abide in you.” Consider the vineyard, “as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (Jn. 15:4). It’s really quite simple.
The solution to your spiritual drought is to immerse yourself in the waters of Christ.
Don’t over-complicate this. The greatest challenge to you abiding in Christ is missing its straightforwardness. Spiritual life is granted through the simplicity of grace, not the complexities of works. The seemingly modest habits of drawing near to Christ are key to breathing vibrant life into dry bones. Spurgeon said:
“The sun is, no doubt, a great worker in fruit-creating among the trees of the orchard: and Jesus is still more so among the trees of His garden of grace.”
He was a man of simple practicality. Get into Christ. Christ will get into you. But how? Again, Spurgeon answers, “Be most in those engagements which you have experimentally proved to draw you nearest to Christ.” His logic is easy to follow.
- Fruitfulness is grown in the soil of nearness.
- Nearness is cultivated in the practice of grace.
- Find grace and dwell in it.
In other words, find you grace engagements and dwell in them. This is your way out of spiritual dry spells. The waters of God’s grace warm the cold heart and channel the misplaced affections. Soak yourself in the waters of grace. Swim in the sea of spiritual favor. Only here can you remedy the decaying decline of spiritual drought.
For me, the early mornings are one my grace engagements. I find Christ in my study where my Bible is opened and my journals are at attention. These moments are even more refined by grace when my grandfather’s old sweater keeps me warm and a cup of Joe is simmering next to me. My lamps are dim. The home is quiet. There are only two present—Christ and me.
In my grace engagement, I draw near to Christ through reading, praying, journaling, and contemplating. In return, He draws near to me. I’ve learned that these moments prove most efficacious. When they are neglected, I feel it. I see it. I dry up inside. My roots shallow. My leaves fall. My joy is lost. And worse, I succumb to sin. The solution to my dry spell is to be most in this engagement.
What are your grace engagements? When have you drawn near to Christ and He to you? Is it in the morning or evening? Is it in the study or closet? What scents, what postures, what clothes, what timing, what temperature? Are you quiet? Are you fasting? Only you and Christ know.
Nearness is cultivated when you direct your undivided heart toward heaven. Are you experiencing spiritual drought? You need to return to your grace engagement. Do as Spurgeon said, “Be most in those engagements which you have experimentally proved to draw nearest to Christ.”
Better yet, do as Jesus said, “Abide in me.”