As I was waiting for my car to be repaired at the dealership, it occurred to me that a basic fact of life we know to be true in the physical world is also true in our spiritual lives. We know the natural order of things in the physical world is towards decay. Take my car for example. It is well designed and carefully constructed for maximum performance, but if it does the very thing it is designed to do, it will gradually wear out. In fact, given enough time, it will wear out even if it sits idle and does nothing.
The same is true for our physical bodies. We are all wearing out. Scripture says our bodies are decaying, and as a 61-year-old man, I can tell you that is a fact. I am in good health, I have energy and I'm active, but I'm no longer 27….or 36…..or even 51! It just happens. Eventually, our joints wear out, our hearts will fail, our life will end, and even our remains will disintegrate. It is just the reality of living in a broken, fallen world.
This is why we try to do things to slow the process. We change the oil in our automobiles and do routine maintenance as “preventative maintenance.” We exercise, eat healthy, and get annual check-ups with the doctor. Despite our best efforts, the process of decay continues and will happen more quickly if we simply do nothing.
I believe there is a significant parallel most of us either aren’t aware of or try to push out of our minds. It doesn't take succumbing to the temptation of some terrible sin to cause us to decline spiritually. It doesn’t require falling into immorality of one type or another. The only thing we have to do to decline in our spiritual health and vitality is, nothing.
If we do nothing, we will grow cold and distant from God.
If we do nothing, our intimacy with God will wane. If we do nothing, the joy of our salvation will cease. If we do nothing, our passion for the lost will evaporate. If we do nothing, our heart for Kingdom service will disappear. If we do nothing, our vision for how God can use us will become dark. All we have to do is nothing, and the vitality of our spiritual life will spiral downward. We don’t maintain spiritual vitality by simply living another day. We must be intentional to practice the spiritual disciplines that will nourish our souls and keep our relationship with Christ fresh, new, and vibrant.
As I have grown older, I have become more aware of the need to eat well, get enough rest, and exercise in order to keep my body functioning the best it can. I am also more keenly aware of how critical it is to do something to keep my spiritual life strong. Everyone grows old physically. Sadly, many Christians will grow cold spiritually, and will not finish their race well. That does not have to happen. Be intentional to study, learn, grow, pray, worship, serve, and obey in order to finish well.