Archive for June, 2012

June 27, 2012

Two month hiatus explained

One of the most frustrating things about playing fantasy baseball is “the slump.”  Baseball is a game that’s all about numbers.  Batters hit home runs and pitchers induce strikeouts, so then everything gets recorded into a huge database.  A player’s entire value gets determined by the types of numbers he can put up.  So if any player runs into a slump during the season where they aren’t getting any hits or are giving up too many runs, their value goes down.  It’s even more frustrating when the player that is slumping is generally a good player.  A slump can last anywhere from a week to even an entire season.

But the reality is: even the best player runs into a slump.

No matter how hard they practice and try to be consistent, every player seems to run into a stretch where they can’t figure out the game.  But the sign of good ball player is one who will make the necessary adjustments to get out of the slump they’re in.

Gospel Connection The same seems to go with living out the Christian faith.  No matter how hard we try to pray or read our Bibles, every Christian seems to go through a period of spiritual dryness.  For some it may last a week or two, but for others it can extend to a long period of time.  We might show signs of willingness to get ourselves out of our slump, but it only gets worse the harder we try.

For the past couple of weeks I found myself in a pretty bad slump.  Being a seminarian and a pastor-to-be, I thought I would be less susceptible to the volatile fluctuations of the spiritual “highs and lows,” but I was wrong.  Even while spending time in the Word and in prayer, I quickly realized that reading Scripture became mutually exclusive to my studies and academics, while my prayer life only revolved around the people I was interceding for; none of it fed any of my growth to love God Himself.  I stopped writing in this blog, and therefore stopped reflecting on real Gospel Connections in my life, and vice versa.

Trying to go back to the basics, like any good baseball player who finds himself in a slump would, I stumbled upon an old devotional that I used to use in high school.  In it, I found a helpful quote that I think began to awaken me from my spiritual slumber:

Our calling is not primarily to be holy men and women, but to be proclaimers of the gospel of God.  The one all-important thing is that the gospel of God should be recognized as the abiding reality.  Reality is not human goodness, or holiness, or heaven, or hell – it is redemption.  The need to perceive this is the most vital need of the Christian worker today.  As workers, we have to get used the revelation that redemption is the only reality.  Personal holiness is an effect of redemption, not the cause of it.  If we place our faith in human goodness we will go under when testing comes.

– Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

I thought that striving for my own personal holiness was the answer to getting out of my slump.  Making myself better and more presentable to God seemed like the right answer to ridding my spiritual dryness.  But in that selfish endeavor, I began to forget about the importance of proclaiming the Gospel.  Only when we reflect on the Good News of Christ, digest it’s redemption narrative into our perspectives, and genuinely declare of its truth for others to hear, will we be revitalized by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
– 2 Timothy 4:1-2  (ESV)