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Spiritual Autopilot

Life Lesson 15: When my walk with Jesus gets sluggish, it’s a sure sign that I’m not in step with Him.

“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!”

-Habakkuk 3:17-18 NLT

When an aircraft ascends a certain feet in the air, the pilot will put the plane in autopilot for period of time until it is time to descend. While in autopilot, the aircraft flies in constant motion without any form of manual control by a person. Autopilot basically assists in controlling the aircraft without the pilot having to focus on the controls or think about what is actually happening.

Similarly, our spiritual walk can get into autopilot mode and become stagnant if we are not intentional about our walk with the Lord. For our spiritual life to climb to new heights, we must be proactive even when there are no visible presence of God working in our lives.

Perhaps at the beginning of your journey with Jesus, you were excited about Him. Your walk with the Lord was enjoyable. You were seeing spurts of growth, and blessings were evident. Now you’re in a dry season and the journey is a bit lackluster. Nothing seems to be happening and you’re just going through the motions. You have come to a spiritual plateau of sorts and your excitement and inspiration for Christ have fallen by the wayside. If that’s you, it’s time to get out of that rut and rejoice in the Lord even if you don’t feel His presence in your life right now. Maybe now is the time to ask yourself some hard questions about your commitment to Jesus.

Four Steps to Enjoying your Walk with Jesus

After much frustration with my religious fatigue, I prayed to the Lord and He helped me to take the following four crucial steps to refresh my experience with Him. Because I now try to stay consistent in these practices, I can confidently say that when uncontrollable events occur, and there are no visible evidence of the Lord working in my life, I can still praise Him because when I do, I am not only filled with spiritual blessings, but my soul rejoices in the Lord.

 1. Spend Time in the Word

If you are in a spiritual fog and your journey with Jesus seems unproductive and unfruitful, perhaps it’s time to examine your walk with Him. Are you reading and meditating on His Word daily? I have found God’s Word to be a refreshing start to reignite my faith and passion for Him. Before I read the Bible, I often pray for the Lord to speak to me through His Word, which gives wisdom and clarity to any situation we may face. Scripture tells us that, “The entrance of [God’s] Word gives light; It gives understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130 NKJV). The Bible also tells us that the unfolding of God’s Word is a lamp to guide our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119:105). Perhaps the reason we sometimes limp in our walk is because we are not entering God’s presence through His written Word. The Word of God is significant to our walk with Him because it sheds light on God’s holiness, reveals our sins, explains repentance and the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

In 1 Peter 2:2 (NLT), we are also told, “Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation.” Scripture also tells us to “Cry out for this nourishment, now that [we] have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.”

You see, if our walk with Jesus gets sluggish, then we set ourselves up for attack from the enemy of our souls. We must not become complacent and be satisfied with being on autopilot with the Lord. When that happens, we must not be afraid to cry out to Him. Like the Psalmist, consider and ask by saying, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?” The Psalmist concludes, “My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2 NASB). The Lord will will not allow you to fall behind.  He will spur you on to spiritual vitality.

2. Spend Time in Prayer

Another step I found to be very helpful in my Christian walk is spending time in prayer before God. We must make sincere prayer a lifestyle. What is your prayer life like today? Is it vibrant and is it real? Do you only pray when you face a crisis or do you go through the motions of prayer?

Since prayer is conversation with God, then it’s essential to our spiritual journey. We must make prayer a priority in our lives (Romans 12:12). Prayer opens us up to God’s discipline and blessings. Our prayer time with God humbles us and prepares our hearts to deal with struggles and sometimes difficult challenges we face in life. Imagine going on a walk or journey with someone and never talking to them, how awkward and boring that would be. God speaks to us through His Word and we speak to Him through prayer, so make it a daily practice (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).

When we practice daily prayer to God, He also gives us opportunities to pray for others. Consider this: You have a dear friend who told you his spouse was recently diagnosed with stage four breast cancer or that she tested positive for COVID-19. Because you’ve been spending time in prayer, your immediate reaction is to cry out to God about your friend’s crisis. An active prayer life brings you on your knees before God often, even when there is no crisis and life is smooth sailing. Why? Because it’s your way of life. It refreshes your soul, it brings you peace, draws you closer to God, and it allows you to walk in step with Him. And the best part is, if you believe in the power of prayer, you have the awesome privilege to approach the throne of grace at any time (1 John 5:14). No appointment is necessary.

3. Spend Time in Fellowship

Examine your relationships to see who you are spending time with and whether those you associate with fuel your walk with Christ or are they holding you back? Are you being a godly influence to those around you, or does your lifestyle mirror that of the world?  We must not neglect fellowship, especially with other Christians. Scripture says, “Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25 NLT). To fellowship with other believers is to share life with them as God intended. We need each other “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17 NLT). We need to come along side each other to encourage and inspire one another in the faith. Take time today to reach out to a fellow believer in Christ or invite someone to come along with you on your walk with Him.

4. Take Time to Share your Faith

Are you a closet Christian? Is your walk with Christ private or are you so thankful for your relationship with Jesus that you are not ashamed of the gospel? Our walk with Christ should be a testimony of His glory as revealed in Scripture: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

If your life has no vivid sign that you’re walking with the Lord, then it’s time to share your passion for Christ courageously (Acts 28:31). Why is it important for us to share our faith? Because it honors God and it’s our responsibility. We are called to share Jesus with others. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands His disciples to go out into the world and make disciples of all nations. We must seek opportunities to share Christ with others about God’s love and His goodness, how He is working in our lives, and how He is faithful to those who surrender their lives to Him by faith. Let’s not neglect this great call on our lives.

One of the ways to to avoid neglecting the Great Commission is to think and train like an athlete. With a goal in view, the athlete is usually disciplined in his or her sport. They can see the finish line and so they tend to challenge themselves for maximum result, and they never become complacent. A committed athlete gets in the game and is constantly challenging his or herself with greater intensity by increasing their strength levels and adding more repetitions. Why? Because it will not only improve their bodies, but also motivate them to stay the course and continually progress in their sport, even when it’s hard and painful. The same is true for Christians, we must diligently show up daily for our spiritual workout and actively participate so we can grow and not become dormant. Even when the journey gets tedious, our ultimate goal is to follow Jesus wherever He leads.

Finding Satisfaction in My Spiritual Walk

Finally, if your walk with God is on autopilot and a bit lethargic right now, then it is time for a change. It is time to up the ante! Time for a spiritual checkup to see where you may be lacking. Are you spending time in the Word and is reading the Bible a part of your daily routine? Has your prayer life become stale? Are you looking for opportunities to talk about Jesus with others? What area of your Christian life do you need to improve? Let me encourage you to make time for the Lord. Don’t neglect the resources He has given you and don’t take for granted your walk with Him. It is never in vein. As Scripture encourages us, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9 NASB).

To fully experience the joy of the Christian life, we must be patient and we must walk in faith—faith to believe that even when the road on which we are traveling with the Lord seems uncertain or unpleasant, we can trust that we are in good company. Don’t let discouragement slow you down. Remember, it’s not so much about whether you are seeing growth in this season of your life, as much as it is about persevering in the Lord even when there are no visible signs of His blessings (Hebrews 12:1).

“Though He may often seem absent in your life, God is at work. Trust Him where you are because He is doing something bigger than you can imagine.”
–Dr. Tony Evans

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