Are you struggling to connect with God? It could be spiritual laziness. Discover 5 signs that you might be spiritually lazy, plus action steps to help you conquer it and revitalize your relationship with God!
Guest post by Mary at Healthy Christian Home
It’s 6:40 a.m. Cup of coffee in hand, I struggle to pry my eyelids open and focus.
I reach for my phone (it’s a habit, ok?) and my finger hovers between my Bible reading app and Facebook.
Obviously, I know I should tap on “Bible” without a second thought and dive deep into Psalms. But in all honesty, I don’t feel like it. Facebook, it is.
Can you relate?
As much as we want to be close to God, we don’t always want to do what it takes to get us there.
Similar to longing for those size 6 jeans, a tidier house, or a better marriage – anything good in life takes work. Having a strong spiritual life is no exception. If you want it, you have to work for it!
And no, I’m not saying you have to work to earn your salvation. But I am saying if you want intimacy with God, where you feel totally fulfilled and excited to learn more, you have to put forth an effort.
You can’t expect it to fall into your lap just because you attend worship and do all the “right” things.
100% transparency: I chose the topic for this post because I need to step on my own toes.
I’m currently struggling with spiritual laziness, so my guess is that you might be too!
Let’s practice Romans 13:11-14, “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep…put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
5 Signs You Might Be Spiritually Lazy
If your relationship with God isn’t quite where you want it to be, chances are that there might be at least a bit of spiritual laziness involved. The question remains: are you spiritually lazy? Let’s find out!
1. You Aren’t Excited About Worship
If you’re dragging yourself to bible study and worship services, chances are you’re not putting in the effort you need to be.
One of the biggest issues when we approach God’s throne in worship is the temptation to have a ‘me’ mentality. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “I didn’t get anything out of that worship service.”
What’s wrong with this statement? The little letter “I.”
Remember: worship isn’t for you. It’s for Him. God alone is our audience.
So, when you go to worship, don’t wonder, “What am I going to get out of this worship service?” Instead, focus on how you can praise and honor God. Worship Him in His way, not in the way that makes you happy.
The crazy part about this is that when we worship God in a way that pleases Him, we are naturally fulfilled and start to feel excited about worshipping Him again. It’s when we focus on our own desires in worship (i.e. “That sermon was boring,” “I didn’t like the song choices,” “The kids in front of me were too squirmy” etc.) that we lose fulfillment.
When you seek to make yourself happy in worship, it breeds discontent. When you seek to make God happy in worship, it breeds excitement.
Action Step: The day before your worship assembly, pray that God will soften your heart and that you will seek to focus on Him and worship Him alone.
If your mind starts to wander during the service, say another quick prayer and do your best to keep your mind set on praising Him. It will take time, but you’ll start to approach worship with the right heart which will keep you from spiritual laziness.
2. Bible Study is an Afterthought
Another reason you might feel spiritually lazy is because your Bible study routine is sorely lacking. Do any of these sound familiar?
- An entire day goes by, and you don’t realize you missed your study time until it’s time for bed and you can’t keep your eyes open.
- You remember to read your Bible, but subconsciously rush through it because you’ve got “so much to do.”
- You feel bored when you read the Bible.
- Worse, you can’t even remember the last time you had a dedicated study time.
I get it! Every Christian goes through dry spells in bible study. I remember telling my sister once that I didn’t feel very close to God, and she wisely replied, “The more you get Him in your head, the more you will feel Him in your heart.”
Study begets more study! It takes effort and discipline at first, but when you really start developing a personal study routine, you’ll start to crave it and that spiritual laziness will start to fall away.
Action Step: Set aside a specific time each day to devote to Bible study. Even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes at first. If you’re not well versed in the Scriptures, begin with the Gospels or Psalms. Don’t just read the words, ask yourself “What is this saying to me? How can I apply this to my life?”
Realize that your study might feel forced at first, but with time it will feel natural and fulfilling.
3. You Don’t Know What to Say in Your Prayers
If you’re going through a spiritual dry spell, you might be hearing crickets when it comes to prayer time. Maybe you don’t know how to approach God, what to say, or how to express your feelings.
Think about it like any other relationship. If you have an old friend you haven’t talked to for a while, it sometimes takes a little bit to get back in the conversational groove.
Action Step: Try prayer journaling. Grab a cheap notebook and express your love to God, along with your worries, needs, and requests.
(To help you in this, read The Ultimate Guide to Prayer Journaling which will help you ignite your prayer life again.)
4. You Don’t Have Any Questions About God or the Bible
My husband and I used to help run a youth outreach for children in Scotland. We did a survey of 70 kids and asked one question, “Do you want to learn more about God?” 68 said yes, 2 said no. One of the boys who said “no” was a boy named Matt.
When asked, “Why don’t you want to learn more about God?” Matt replied, “I already know everything there is to know about God!” While I’m sure you wouldn’t go that far, you might be surprised at how many things you think you understand about God that you actually don’t.
After all, Isaiah 55:9 says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
If you’re perfectly content with your faith as-is, and never spend any time pondering Biblical questions or spiritual teachings, you might be spiritually lazy. Apathy is the “don’t know, don’t care” attitude that sometimes happens to all of us. But, the fact that you’re reading this post says that you at least want to grow spiritually – and that means a lot!
In Acts, the Berean Jews searched the Scriptures every day to see whether Paul’s teachings were correct (Acts 17:11). When was the last time you questioned what your minister/church leaders/teachers say? Have you checked to see if what you learned from well-meaning family as a child is actually Biblical?
Action Step: Have an inquisitive attitude about your faith. Start checking the teachings you hear (or those you learned in childhood) against the Scriptures, as the Bereans did. Keep a special page in your bible or prayer journal to record your bible questions. Use these as a jumping-off point for your study time.
Side note: I question my preacher all the time. He’s my husband 😉
5. Your Mind is Constantly Focused on Worldly Things
If God is basically on the outskirts of your mind, it’s safe to say you might be spiritually lazy. It’s normal for Christians to experience times where worldly thoughts crowd out thoughts of God.
Whether it’s stressors, temptations, or just plain busyness, life can speed by so quickly that we hardly give God a second thought.
And it’s not usually intentional. But let’s practice thinking about God more so that it becomes second nature. Imagine approaching each situation in your day and conversing with God about it: “Wow, God, thanks for that blessing!” or “Can you help me with this little problem I’m having?”
Colossians 3:1-3 says, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Action Step: Use daily worries and blessings as triggers for remembering God. When you’re worried about something, ask God for help. When you’re feeling happy, think about how God has blessed You. You’ll start to notice how God is working in your life, which will help melt away spiritual laziness.
Do you struggle with spiritual laziness? What helps you keep the right focus?
Mary Harp is mom to the two sweetest boys you’ve ever met and wife to her best friend, Richard, a minister near Birmingham, AL. She runs a blog about wellness and faith called Healthy Christian Home. When she’s not chasing her boys or blogging, you can find her with a stack of books and a cup of hot tea. Grab her free daily self care rituals checklist here or follow on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.