How To Keep Seeking God When You Don’t See Growth

You can do all the right things, you can pray, you can study scripture and still enter into a season when you just don’t feel like it’s accomplishing anything. That’s about the time discouragement sets in. What do you do when you feel like your effort is all in vain?

EXPECTATIONS

I think there are three key areas worth looking into. The first is our expectations. What are we expecting out of our time with Jesus? Are we expecting a daily emotional experience? Well, that’s probably not going to happen. Are we expecting lighting bolts of revelation every time we read scripture? Sorry to tell you, there are dry seasons. Not every devotional time will be a “moment” to remember, but every single one is significant, regardless of our perceived outcome.

You know how to seek the Lord, so keep practicing what you’ve learned even when it doesn’t seem to be working.

FOCUS

The second key area is our focus. What is our goal? Many times we put our attention on a desired outcome when really it should just be on Jesus. Our devotional time is not a time of accomplishment, but a place where we grow in devotion FOR Jesus. Sometimes we get caught up trying to recapture, or relive past encounters with the Lord. This pursuit rarely accomplishes its purpose. Instead let’s place our focus on what God has for us today and where He is leading us right now.

Each day is significant and God has instilled purpose into each one. We must allow Him to reveal it to us by investing first and foremost into our relationship with Him.

SEASONS

The final area we should look at is simple evaluating what season are we in. Growth has seasons, spiritual growth is no exception. In some seasons you plant, in some seasons you water, in some seasons grow, in some seasons you harvest, in some seasons you rest. True, some seasons are more enjoyable than others, but each one is important. We need to take the pressure off of trying to produce spiritual fruit. Our role is to remain faithful in our daily pursuit of Jesus and His role is produce fruitfulness.

John 15:4-5 (ESV) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Our role as Christians is first and foremost to abide in Jesus. We won’t always see growth, that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Remember that before growth is ever seen bursting from the soil, it is happening beneath the surface. We abide in Jesus, nourishing our relationship with Him, surrendering our will for His, trusting Him with ever facet of our lives.

He is good. He is trustworthy.

Continue your daily pursuit of Jesus.

Abide in Christ.

Jesus, Our Supply

I wish we could just eliminate bad days. No matter the effort we put in, there are still days when everything seems to go wrong. It’s unavoidable. There are seasons in life where struggle prevails. I am grateful for the seasons of growth and the seasons of harvest, but why must we also have seasons of loss and seasons of drought?

We cannot always control what season of life we are in. The weather changes regardless of our actions, however, our actions are not determined by the weather. In the midst of bitter cold, I can put on my warmest jacket and head out to work. If I don’t then I’ll likely lose my job. In the same way no matter the season of life you find yourself in, you can choose to keep spending time in prayer and in the Word of God.

Psalm 1:1-3 (ESV) Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;  but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

Often when faced with adversity and challenge we tire of the drudgery of devotion. It is not uncommon in those seasons to feel as if God is distant. Suddenly prayer seems a chore and our motivation wanes. When we are not seeing the fruit of our prayer efforts, we want to quit praying.

That is a choice we sometimes make, but it is the wrong choice. We must continue sowing the seed of prayer, especially during the difficult seasons. We must water our prayers with tears before the Lord and earnestly pray for His purpose to take root in our hearts. As we remain steadfast in our pursuits, allowing His Word to consume our hearts and minds, even in the drought we are being fed like a tree planted by the stream.  We can be confident that fruit will be produced in its proper time.

We feel each season. We dance during seasons of joy and produce. We weep during seasons of heartache and pain. We endure seasons of frustration and dryness. Yet, the work of the Lord continues within us, so long as we stay rooted in His word the waters of His Spirit are preparing us for a new season of produce.

I wish I could tell you that it was all sunshine and that we would never endure hard times, but the Bible ensures us that hard times will come. However, we are also assured that even through such great challenges our God stands with us. He is on our side. He is fighting our battles. We are not abandoned to survive on our own. He is our strength and our shield, our place of refuge.

Let us never abandon the good fight, but when difficult times come let our resolve become ever stronger, fueled by the very presence of God. We are not among the weak that we may give in and cease our pursuit. No, we are among the strong, the relentless ones who charge forward knowing that God is on our side and no weapon can stop us.

So long as we stay rooted in His word, His presence and His church there is no season we will encounter that He has not supplied the strength to survive. If you are going through a hard time today, I encourage you do not despair. Look to His provision. Open His word and read. Do not tire in praying. Reach out to a fellow believer to join you in the fight. Pray together. Let God be your supply. In all seasons, He is our source of strength. Our source of endurance. Our very source of life. Every victory comes from Him alone.

You are not forgotten, this season will end.

Trust in God.