If you’re a person who follows Jesus, do you remember those first weeks of your new life?
When a person first commits their lives to Jesus, when we first accept his rescue, there’s a tremendous sense of life and vitality. It’s really not unlike falling in love for the first time (which is where our talk of having a ‘relationship with Jesus’ comes from). The world just looks better, brighter. You’re seeing things differently, there’s hope everywhere. Living as a Christian is easy – prayer comes almost naturally, the Scriptures seem alive. Life is good!
We in the Church love to talk about that. It’s often part of our sales pitch when we’re evangelizing. But we leave out something pretty important:
That feeling goes away.
You know what I’m talking about. Suddenly, you have to work a little bit at being joyful. Old habits you thought were gone are back with a vengeance. Scripture doesn’t make sense anymore and prayers just feel like talking to yourself. Spiritual growth suddenly isn’t as easy as it used to be.
You don’t tell anyone, because no one prepped you for this. So you think it’s just something with you. Like maybe you did something wrong, or you just need to try harder. Or maybe that whole God thing was just a phase, like it was all in your head.
If you know what I’m talking about, I’ve got some good news for you: you’re not crazy, you’re not alone, and there’s nothing wrong with you.
What you’re experiencing is a totally normal, natural part of your spiritual lifecycle. And believe it or not, it’s actually very good news.
The Israelites’ journey into the Promised Land models this transition in our spiritual growth. While they were in the wilderness, God gave the Israelites manna to eat every day. But when they got into the Promised Land, the manna quit coming.