Tuesday, May 26, 2009


We often meet with those who complain of dryness and deadness in their worship. They are very unlike the Psalmist's picture of the "blessed man." "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither." This is a true picture of the Christian life. The soul should be as a watered garden--fresh and green and sparkling. It should be a springtime. You have seen a garden in the spring or one that is wellwatered. All is beauty, freshness, and vigor. Such a garden is used by the prophet to symbolize the Spirit-filled soul. He says, "And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." Isa. 58:11.

In order to have such a happy experience, however, the children of God must meet certain conditions. The context says, "If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul." If our souls are not drawn out in pity for the hungry and we fail to do what we can to relieve them, we need not expect anything other than a spiritual drought in our own cases.

Spiritual dryness is sometimes the result of attachment to the world. "Set your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth." Unless we live by the Bible, we can not be spiritual. A little affection for the things of earth robs the soul of spiritual life. In this matter Satan is an excellent reasoner. He will suggest that your desires are only for the glory of God; that you have no affection for the worldly object, but desire it only for God's glory. A young lady to whom I gave warning said that her desires were pure and that she had no affection for the object, but sought only to please the Lord. Very soon, however, she came to the realization that her soul was a desert place, and all because she had believed the falsehood of Satan. Beware how you desire earthly things for God's glory. Underneath may be a desire for self-gratification, ease, or luxury. If you are troubled by a lack of sensible devotion in worship, examine your affections. Possibly you may find some tiny roots twining around something of this world.

Spiritual dryness may be the result of sloth. "Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep." Prov. 19:15. Spiritual idleness soon results in spiritual dryness. That sophism of Satan's, "No time for prayer," is very dangerous. Any neglect of spiritual devotion must result in lukewarmness. Oh, how unreasonable is man and how easily the desires of the flesh deceive! If you neglected to water your garden, you would not wonder for a moment why it was drying up. Then, when you are neglecting to water the soul in vigorous, spiritual exercises, why do you wonder at your being so spiritually dull? "Awake, thou that sleepest!" Up and away to the hill of the Lord. Be the frequent witness of a sunrise scene from the mount of prayer.

Let me make this still more simple, for some may need it made very easy to understand. When the soul is like a watered garden, it will be drawn to God in prayer in the early morning. Any delay will cause uneasiness and restlessness. The soul longs to hasten away to the presence of God. But one little delay after another brings on a morbid condition. The soul loses its keen relish; its senses become deadened, so that there is no uneasiness; while the senses of the self-life will find pleasure in sloth.

When the soul once gets into the habit of idleness, it experiences no little difficulty in getting out. On becoming aware of his state, the individual may acknowledge his inactivity and make half-formed resolves to be more earnest and diligent, only very soon to relapse into the same former sluggishness. This virus of sloth inoculates the entire spiritual being, poisoning the will and making spiritual activity most disagreeable.

Not only does it destroy the will of the soul, but it blindfolds the eyes so that the individual can see no necessity for great fervency in spirit or for diligence in spiritual exercise. In a half-dazed manner he acknowledges that the "watchings often" and "fastings often" and "praying always" of the apostle Paul were very consistent in him, but does not realize that such would be as desirable in his own Christian profession. He wonders why he is not healed as people were in the days of Paul. Why wonder? He does not wonder why the flowers wither when it does not rain. It is the fervent, earnest prayer that God hears.

One reason why so many are slothful is that they do not realize the true worth of prayer. Oh, I would to God that men rightly valued communion with God or a few thoughts of him! The lifting of the heart to God in praise or adoration is of greater value than the wealth of worlds. It is not enough to know much about the doctrine of the Bible, to be acquainted with this present reform, and to live a fair outward life; we must be filled with the Spirit. We must be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, whose leaf does not wither. Take plenty of time to gain heaven. Take time to be spiritual. A home in heaven is worth laboring for. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Spiritual dryness is the result of spiritual indolence. Be active, and you will not be unfruitful.


windi said...

wow! Thank you for this. Just what I needed to hear today. I appreciate everything you wrote. So very true. I'm so thankful our Lord is willing to hear our prayers even when we are so knee deep in our sinful ways. He is so good to us. Praise Him.

Margaret said...

Thank you for your insight.
So many people are rushing around and they do not see the importance of spending formal time in prayer or even saying a prayer of thanks for all that is good in their daily lives.
If people prayed the world would be a better place.