Sunday, January 18, 2009

Spiritual Dehydration

Spiritual Dehydration

As the caption speaks, spiritual dehydration describes a situation of a Christian in which the person feels dry within. The spirit man feels as if he was in an arid land where moisture is lacking. Such condition is not foreign to most Christians. Almost every person knows what it is to feel spiritually ‘dry’ or dreary. Though generally a negative condition to be in, it is however, an even greater tragedy if the victim were not sufficiently aware of the condition to rescue himself from potential dehydration. I learnt an important lesson on this when I was in Tibet for a prayer journey.

A plateau situated at an average altitude over four thousand meters above sea level with more than fifty peaks above seven thousand meters, with eleven over eight thousand meters, Tibet is commonly known as the “roof of the world”. This positions Tibet as one of the closest places to the sun and it is not surprising that it has one of the highest atmospheric temperatures recorded, as it receives one of the strongest radiation of heat from the sun. However, because of its high altitude , many parts of Tibet are also perpetually covered with snow all seasons round, the people there also experience cold winds throughout.

With such intensity of heat, the Yak’s meat being left under the sun for a period of time would have been sufficiently cooked for consumption under the heat of the sun! And we know for sure that if meat could cook under such intensity of heat, then surely the same heat could be equally demanding on human flesh! However, because there is the habitual drafts of cold strong wind, it somewhat acts as a decoy from the sweltering heat so that one does not quite feel the severity of the sun’s heat. But the heat affects the body composition, notwithstanding. As a result, visitors who are not conscious of the effects Tibet’s unique climate has on their body systems suffer and even die from physical dehydration. The safeguard against this is of course to drink plenty of water even though one may not feel thirsty, so as to keep the body sufficiently moistened.

While I was there on a prayer journey in 1998, the Spirit enlighten me and drew a parallel from that situation of physical dehydration to teach me an important truth about spiritual dehydration. Modern society has all the lusts of the flesh and the eye that we can imagine - unsantifed sensuality , materialism, stress and competitiveness etc. These are like the ‘heat’ of Tibet’s sun, for they blaze on people and leave the sting of heat on us. However, in our world, apart from those things mentioned earlier, there are also the attractive qualities of modern living such as comfort, status, pleasure, recognition etc. that comes along together with the ‘heat’. Thus, it is not often that people recognise the decadence of the society when there seems to be so much that makes up for it. In a way, this is like how visitors of Tibet experience the climatic conditions there. The heat of the sun is severe, no doubt, but its potential danger is not realised by the people because accompanying the severe heat are strong drafts of refreshing wind. People perish because they are unaware of the heat that dries the body system. Likewise, Christians suffer spiritual dehydration when they are unaware of the corrosive effect of the ills of human frailty in modern society. Unless we constantly check ourselves we run into danger of suffering spiritual dehydration even unto death, while we remain contented where we are.

With the advanced technology in communications these days via the Internet, information and knowledge is easily within convenient accessibility. However, with that service also comes the accessibility into the ills of the world. Pornography and many evil knowledge is as easily available as information on the stock market. Activities such as cyber-sex are being practised and we have read also about how Internet dating has led several precious young people into destruction and depression. Technology was developed to improve efficiency in the business context, and to reduce the amount of working time in the handling of information. However, in some ways, many people have allowed this availability of automation to add to instead of take from their workload. People are now busier than ever when computers are supposed to help alleviate office duties. In a way, something that was good and approved initially has now become like a curse to those who fail to manage it well. We have to exercise both wisdom and caution in assigning time and devotion to the items on our agenda.

This entry into the new millennium is almost as significant a landmark season as that during the days of the prophet Malachi. During those days, there was a dangerously increased casualness in the people’s worship of God. Living in the prescribed standards of God became very compromised and people assigned less and less importance to it. In particular, God’s people both dishonoured and belittled His greatness by worshipping Him with blemished sacrifices and by withholding their tithes and offering from Him. The people wearied of serving God and there was a common disregard for the God who continued to love them regardless. What’s worse, such indifference towards God was soon reflected in their treatment of one another as one by one, the people grew callous and detached in their contacts with other people. There was even the treachery of priests and laymen forsaking faithful wives for immorality with heathen women who engaged in idol worship. That is not to say that the Church today is as decadent. However, in a way, we see the same pattern in the Body. Lukewarmness towards the Lord and shallowness of His way has warped the hearts of many today. People are losing their First Love (God) and turning to other things objects of devotion instead. Like how the people in those days failed to reciprocate the Lord’s divine love with acceptable sacrifices and apposite worship, we have failed to appreciate His presence in our lives with adequate devotion and dedication to Him.

Once mediating on this again one afternoon, I felt a warning bubbling in my spirit and I begin to perceive a cloud of “lukewarmness” hovering the Church. I perceive that this is the counter attack of the enemy against the revival of Love God’s wants to bring to His people. As God is bringing His people to served Him with true Love in their hearts, the enemy is releasing an atmosphere of lukewarmness that will neutralise the movement of God. And if we are not careful, may fall in the same scenario of the Ephesus Church mention in the Book of Revelation.

“I know your works, your labour, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have laboured for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place - unless you repent” (Rev.2:2-5).

The Ephesus Church was outstanding for its plentiful works, its patient endurance, its prudent discernment and for the sake of Christ’s Name has laboured tirelessly. But the tragedy was that it has left its first love. They will still sound in doctrine and active in service, but the true motive of all worship and service was missing. The lampstand is use to hold the lights, it speaks of we being a vessel to bear the light of Christ. Thus, if we have not return to our first love, all our service for Him is but for our own ego and unsanctified motive and therefore has the danger that the Lord will also remove us from being His vessel to carry the Light to glorified His Name.

True love always abide. Couple who are in love will seek every opportunity to abide with one another. Even when physically they can not be together, they will still abide electronically through phone, message or e-mail. Love gave them the hunger and great desire to abide whatever possible. Are we applying the same hunger and desire to abide with the Lord whom we tell the whole world we are in love with ? If we truly want to serve the Lord, lets heed the warning of the Lord diligently , do the “first work” which is to return to our first love. Only when we truly love can we have true motive of doing His work.

The prophet Malachi concluded his message with an uncompromising warning and an equally impacting promise. For those who continue to be flippant in their lifestyles, the Lord promised a fierce brilliance on His second coming that will burn and consume them like fire. But to those who walk in the fear of God and honour Him , He promises great rejoicing in His healing rays.

Dear bothers and sister, lets us be alert and vigilant in our spiritual life. Be watchful and do not ever allow yourself to be ‘spiritually dehydrated’. Keep yourselves well by ‘drinking a lot of water’ (reading and meditating on the Word of God) and by ‘clothing yourselves with suitable clothing and applying sufficient moisturiser ’ (cloths of righteousness and prayer that brings the anointing oil on you) so that you can be well even in adverse atmosphere.

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