I could feel the frustration in the air. I’ve seen it many times: the disgruntled spirit of someone who has learned the Word of God. Their eyes, ears and heart have been awakened to Truth and they just can’t go back and un-know what they know now.
Maybe that’s you. Maybe you have returned from your first Boot Camp (or your fourth) and there is a spiritual discontent rising up in your soul. Here are five things I want you to know:
1. It’s Okay to be Spiritually Discontent
God’s Word has changed you, and that’s a good thing. It’s natural and healthy for the Word to expose sin around us. It’s okay for discontent to rise up in you. What matters is what you do with it. How you respond in your spiritual discontent will either bring about Godly change, or it will result in sin.
2. Don’t be a Bitter Critic
It’s not okay to be someone who has nothing good to say about your church, school, family or friends. DO NOT allow what God is doing in you through His Word to stir up sin in your life. We move toward sin when we allow our spiritual discontent to feed bitterness or constant critique.
The bitter critic stirs up strife and conflict with the body of Christ (Hebrews 12:15). They want to point out all the problems, and do nothing to help fix them. The bitter critic strives to be seen and heard. They enjoy sitting in negativity and bringing other people along. Ephesians 4:31 tells us that bitterness should be put away from us. Being the bitter critic is ungodly and not becoming of one who bears the name of Jesus. So stop it!
We are fallen people who live in a fallen world and NONE of us is perfect, or has a perfect church, school, family or friends. As long as we breathe we are called to participate in the body of Christ with other fallen people. It will be difficult, messy, and sometimes ugly. I’m not saying this to discourage you, but to encourage you that there is a better way to walk; Jesus has overcome the world and we are overcomers, too (1 John 5:4-5) because He is in us.
3. Don’t Do Nothing
James 4:17 tells us that “one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Sometimes spiritual discontent makes us feel overwhelmed, and we choose to do nothing instead. Did you notice that we choose to do nothing? We sense the Lord prompting us to action, but the action is scary or difficult. It may seem to be more than we think we are capable of accomplishing.
When the Word exposes sin, we can’t do nothing. To do nothing is heart-numbing disobedience and sin. To do nothing is to merely be a hearer of the word. James calls us to not be merely hearers of the Word who delude ourselves, but to be doers of the Word. Is God rising up a spiritual discontent in you? Then listen to Him, and BE OBEDIENT.
4. Be a Part of the Change
Remember that last step of inductive Bible study called application? Application is asking myself “how does what I see in the Word apply to what I know to be true, and how I live my life?” It is okay for you to be spiritually discontent, but it is not okay for you to stay there. Allow the spiritual discontent to move you to prayerful action. Do you see a need for a Bible study? Do you see areas in a ministry of your church that need fixing or growth? Don’t freeze up, don’t be the critic; be A PART of the change.
To be a part of the change may mean getting involved with your church, or teaching your friends how to study the Word. God has given you a great gift in knowing how to study the Word of God, so use it! Look for opportunities to share what you know. Allow spiritual discontent to move you into action.
5. Trust God to do the Work
I know how hard it is to be a part of the change (I’m literally in the middle of some right now). I know it can be scary and overwhelming.
Don’t lose sight of the power and strength of God. He is faithful to help you along the way. He will strengthen and guide your every step. You can’t be a part of any change without Him.
Be obedient when He prompts, and trust Him to do the work.
Growing up in small town, New Mexico, Ashlee didn’t anticipate being a college minister’s wife in the largest metroplex of the South. That’s one of the many reasons she humbly and gratefully disciples students, doing life together through questions and trials to strive for Christ, His gospel, and love.